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Hai Phong: Viet in Vancouver deserving its own thread

HK bbq master and Leeloy are my two favourites for chasiu. I had amazing cha siu fan at Kam gok yuen once but it was mediocre during my second visit. #9 is my idea of decent (and sometimes good). Most other places I have had cha siu are disappointing.

about 13 hours ago
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

What to do with pandan leaves?

Make a pandan and lemongrass iced tea.

We had this at Bolan in Bangkok and it was probably our favourite and most memorable dish we had there (if you can call it a dish).

It's quite easy - simmer pandan and lemongrass in water, and add sugar to sweeten (taste until you like the sweetness, it should just be slightly sweet). Strain out the pandan and lemongrass. Cool the liquid in the fridge. Drink.

Jul 19, 2014
quddous in Home Cooking

Cooking frisée?

I do similar a similar dish.

Fry the frisee at a temperature where it gets wilted and browns slightly but does not burn. I try not to overcook it as it is perfectly edible raw. toss with vinegar/olive oil, top with microplaned parmesan, top with soft poached egg, black pepper and salt on egg.

I do this with a lot of vegetables actually - broccolini, watercress, asparagus, etc.

Jul 19, 2014
quddous in Home Cooking

I need advice on cooking fish

Even processed canola oil can go rancid - I have had this happen. The unattractive flavours are much more noticeable when it is heated.

The other problem may be that you were using a raw/unprocessed canola (rapeseed) oil. Canola oil has a nutty flavour which is removed through industrial processing.

I do find that grape seed oil has a lighter, more water-like flavour to it.

Jul 19, 2014
quddous in Home Cooking

Home made salad dressing that lasts

Agree with earlier posters, your salad dressing will be safe after a week but may not have the same texture/taste as it did when you first made it.

I like storing my dressings in Mason jars. Easy to store and easy to shake to mix all the ingredients together before use.

non-aromatic oil, champagne vinegar, sugar, poppy seeds, pinch of salt

sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, small amount of soy sauce

olive oil, champagne vinegar, dijon

I don't typically use distilled vinegar for salad dressings as it is too harsh in my opinion. Oil:vinegar typically 2:1 to 3:1 depending on how acidic the vinegar is and how acidic I want the dressing to be.

Rice wine vinegar is the vinegar I use most often for salad dressings lately. I also use champagne vinegar and some sweeter white wine vinegars (which I prefer but cost much, much more)

Jul 19, 2014
quddous in Home Cooking

Have LOTS of produce - help!

If you have smaller tomatoes (smaller than a golf ball) then I would recommend cutting in half, toss with olive oil and salt and semi-dry them in your oven (put your oven on the lowest temp and dry the tomatoes until they look wilted and half dried out). You can also throw some oregano or thyme in with the tomatoes while they are cooking. Put them in a jar with olive oil and keep in your fridge. I did this a few days and they are phenomenal. Try not to over dry your tomatoes like they do with canned sun-dried tomatoes.

Jul 19, 2014
quddous in Home Cooking

Venison Steak Tartare

One of Ruhlman's recommendations is Au Pied de Cochon's Tartare. It was featured in the NYT:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

If you have access to the APDC book, then I would recommend also looking at the carpaccio recipes. I think their flavour and presentation is quite outstanding (picture attached is of the duck carpaccio).

Jul 19, 2014
quddous in Home Cooking

Need Vancouver Ethnic Restaurant for 10 on short notice

There are a few locations locations of Banana Leaf and they are all quite different. The newest location on Robson and Denman is modern and new. I have been to their Kits and Broadway/Oak locations and I have never felt either to be dirty.

The location on Denman does look too dark. I don't know about the cleanliness.

A business shouldn't be faulted for being busy. A busy business means that the owners are doing a good job.

I agree that the food at Banana Leaf could be better at times but I do like their food overall. My biggest complaint about their food is that they use thin cuts of meat in some of their curries; they overcook this meat which gives it a rubbery texture.

Jul 17, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Ramen Koika - new ramen on Robson

Great report, Dennis. Very informative.

It does sound like they are actually trying to get better so we may just need to wait for them to work out all the problems.

Jul 17, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Ramen Koika - new ramen on Robson

Yes, sorry. Tsuki is the sushi bar next to Taishoken.

Jul 17, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Ramen Koika - new ramen on Robson

We just passed the place on Davie and it is Koika. Would have tried it but they close at 10pm.

Jul 16, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Need Vancouver Ethnic Restaurant for 10 on short notice

They do but only for larger groups.

Jul 16, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Ramen Koika - new ramen on Robson

Tsuki on Abbot near Pender is also new.

There is also another on Davie. I can't remember the name of that one.

I haven't been to any of the three yet but I have heard that Tsuki is mediocre.

Jul 16, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Need Vancouver Ethnic Restaurant for 10 on short notice

Phnom Penh. call them and see if they have availability.

Jul 16, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Sushi-yas offering something comparable to "The Sawada Experience"?

Thanks.

I haven't been to Aki yet.

We like Hamaei, Ajisai, Sushi Hachi. I used to like Yuji's but havent gone since they reopened. My brother and his friends have been raving about another "Sushi by Yuji" which is a different sushiya. Not sure if they are related or not.

The best straight nigiri I have had in Vancouver has been at Sushi Hachi. I went again recently and it was very good but not exceptional like it had been.

I used to be a huge fan of Miku but their quality has gone downhill. Their cooked dishes are still really good but the quality of their raw fish has been worse the last three times I have been.

Jul 15, 2014
quddous in Japan

Sushi-yas offering something comparable to "The Sawada Experience"?

Let's just say I am somewhat jealous of your sushi experiences.

What are your favourite sushi-ya (or restaurants in general) in and around Vancouver (including anywhere drivable ie seattle/portland)? I am also in Vancouver. I don't recall seeing you active on the BC board though.

Jul 14, 2014
quddous in Japan

Quick Help?

Gyroball: Yasuda was one of the top 5 sushi restaurants in NYC based off of my own research (I wanted to eat there but didn't have time). I would recommend following Ninisix's recommendations. Ninisix is one of the most well eaten on the Japan board.

Nini: What do you think of Kyubei? Also what are your favourite current Sushiya?

Jul 14, 2014
quddous in Japan

Quick Trip Report - May 2014 Tokyo

Great report, Adam.

Jul 11, 2014
quddous in Japan

Top 10 Izakayas in Tokyo - whats your suggestions

I always thought you were Robbie Swinnerton. I knew you posted at bento.com though. :)

Glad to see you still contributing to CH.

Jul 11, 2014
quddous in Japan

Quick Help?

Sushi in Japan is different from sushi abroad. The fish is much better, so even a just a "good" sushi restaurant in Tokyo is better than any we have in Vancouver (which is also known for having "good sushi", god knows why). They also do not add mayonnaise or deep fried items to their sushi. It is about respecting the fish and bringing out the flavour of each unique fish.

The best sushi ($300-500+) might not be too different from very good sushi ($50) for you.

The best sushi I have had so far in Tokyo was at Kyubei. I think they have a lunch set for 8,000 yen (about $80).

It really depends on your budget, your experiences and your preference. How long are you staying? What is your budget? What kind of Japanese food do you like? What do you like eating? What do you not want to eat? Where have you eaten before?

Jul 11, 2014
quddous in Japan

Best non-fusion Italian in Rome

Vinoroma - It is funny that you mention about Tricolore being open. We had to go back three different times because they were closed on the first two occasions. We tried to go to quite a few places which had wrong opening hours on Yelp/Google - just a note for other people who are going to visit Rome.

We still ate but we cancelled some of our meals. We returned to Roscioli for one extra meal. We also had a selection of salumi and cheeses from Eataly as one of our meals.

I was just about to say it wasn't a horrible meal but I remembered it more vividly and I can't even justify saying that it was okay. I missed a few more things about Perilli - the coda alla Vaccinara was extremely salty. The glasses were also all dirty (not just one which is already a bad sign).

Jul 11, 2014
quddous in Italy

About Paris, France; Regarding sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.?

You hit on a good point. You can tell a lot about the techniques and care used at a restaurant even by looking at badly taken photos.

I skim through photos often also to look for the style and execution of the food.

Jul 11, 2014
quddous in France

Any local butcher offering Alberta beef / steak

Hi Scoffier,

Great post!

I forgot about prime. I was at a meat processors a few months ago and didn't remember prime as it was only 2%.

Also, Osaka in West Vancouver has Wagyu. Not sure where theirs is from or if other T&T/Osaka locations have it.

Jul 11, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Best non-fusion Italian in Rome

Cesare was one of my top picks but was closed for renovations while we were in Rome. I really do recommend getting in to Roscioli and their bakery.

Pizzarium is quite a bit out of the way. We were at the Vatican Museums and it still took a 20 minute walk to get out to Pizzarium.

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in Italy

Any local butcher offering Alberta beef / steak

If you are looking for amazing meat then I think that the actual farm they come from is more important than the province itself. I would find a few good butchers (I'm sure someone will chime in and recommend soon enough) and ask them where their meat is from.

I personally buy most of my beef from Costco. It is Canada Triple A, which is actually as high as the Canadian grading system goes, and is quite cheap compared to traditional butcher shops.

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

About Paris, France; Regarding sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.?

One of the biggest problems with aggregate sites is that many people negatively rate based on one bad experience. I have this problem with my business personally. We are super busy and have too many customers to even handle, but the only people who rate us are the ones who seem to rate us are the ones who have had a bad experience. I think it is less so for a restaurant vs grocery (my business) but I think it is still a problem that should be addressed somehow (possibly by having a food only rating like Zagat has)

There are also many fake reviews on TripAdvisor/Yelp. You can usually tell if the reviews seem odd and one sided; the fake posters also usually have very few reviews of other restaurants. If most people who rated a restaurant have very few reviews, then you should be wary of that restaurant.

I agree that this is a problem, but when you have a large enough sample, then these negative reviews affect the restaurant rating less noticeably. If a restaurant is consistently having bad reviews about service then there is a problem with the restaurant management.

I really think it is not about trusting a single source, but about finding all the information you can about a restaurant and making an informed decision. You can look at rating, negative reviews, positive reviews and also cross reference. If a restaurant is highly rated on one site but low rated on other sites then this raises a red flag.

I like how Zagat has a food rating scale which removes that "bad service" element in the restaurant ratings (they also rate decor and service separately). Cons: they currently don't have enough listed restaurants and their rating sample size is usually not too large.

If you trust just one source then you are depending on that source to not lead you awry. Increase your sample size and you can reduce your chances of error.

breakdown of lists/sites:

CH has the best and most knowledgeable foodies but the sample size is much smaller and the number of restaurants discussed are much fewer in number. It also takes some effort to look through to find different reviews of single restaurants that you are researching.

TA has the most number of listings and the most ratings but least knowledgeable users.

Yelp has more knowledgeable users than TA but they are very hipster oriented.

Zagat is great but doesn't list enough places.

Michelin is good if you want Michelin style restaurants. Technical, clean, high quality ingredients in a semi-formal to formal setting with typically exceptional service.

San Pellegrino Top 100 if you want to eat modernist food. I follow this list but I am not too fond of it as it leaves out too many good restaurants and lists many restaurants which possibly should not be on the list.

I also agree that one of the problems with all restaurant information is that it gets cycled and that the well reviewed restaurants do get more and more attention. From blogs to newspapers to CH to TA to Yelp, the same few places appear everywhere. I have seen this happen many places, where a few restaurants are mentioned too often, and many others have no mentions at all and it is sometimes even difficult to find information on them.

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in France
1

Itinerary Advice and Questions - Paris

I don't feel as if modern versus traditional was the problem. I extremely enjoy and prefer modern over traditional.

I do agree that food is very subjective and that one person's favourite may not be another's; but I also believe that good tasting food no matter if it is traditional or modern will be delicious to those who eat it. Almost every dish we had at Atera and Eleven Madison Park (in NYC) were very good. Both restaurants are very "modern".

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in France

Where would you eat in Vancouver if you were visiting from LA?

Kingyo and PIdgin will both be out of your budget.

Kingyo is small sharing plates (izakaya style). 2-3 dishes minimum per person. I have not left there paying less than $30/person for dinner.

Pidgin is even more expensive.

LA and Vancouver have very similar cuisines. The one thing that LA beats Vancouver in is Korean food so I would stay away from that.

I would recommend going to Guu for dinner which is a cheaper version of Kingyo. Guu has multiple locations but their best one is Guu with Garlic.

Guu and Kingyo both have lunches which are quite affordable actually. The bento lunch at Kingyo is pretty awesome and is about $16 for a bento box with 12 different dishes.

It really depends on what kind of food you like and what you are interested in.

Phnom Penh probably fits your bill better than anything. Kalvin's, Peaceful, Dinesty should all be close to your budget as well.

Vij's, Vij's Rangoli, Maenam, Bella Gelateria, Farmer's Apprentice, La Quercia, Espana are some that I would pick if I were visiting.

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Fresh Curry leaves

You can also put them in a ziploc freezer bag and freeze them. I do this with mine and they keep almost indefinitely and taste the same as fresh.

They really are very delicious.

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Fresh Curry leaves

South Seas is the biggest ripoff in the history of mankind.

I do not recommend them ever.

Jul 10, 2014
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)