Wednesday, 16 July 2014

sushi star: hidden "not quite a gem" sushi

a warm summer day in 2013, me and two friends decided to have downtown adventures visiting soirette and the harbour but before that, we needed energy in the form of SUSHI and found sushi star in a hidden street. 

 gyoza ($3.95) - the gyoza were not great. it was quite hard and seemed over fried but did come the table piping hot which is a plus! i can be a bit biased though since i strong prefer pan fried over deep fried and am a bit upset they didnt clarify it on the menu ): 


tuna tataki ($7.95) - 8 bucks for tuna tataki is a pretty good price but as you can tell from the picture, its not the most beautiful or delicious around. the sauce had a nice acidity but the slices were very thin and hardly seared.


yam tempura roll ($3.95), dynamite roll ($3.95), salmon avocado roll ($3.75)

all the rolls were pretty average with a blander tasting rice. the filling in the dynamite wasnt bad since i actually enjoy when there is crab meat included but the salmon avocado was quite packed with rice and had little salmon in it. 


lion king roll ($8.95) - deep fried california roll topped with spicy crab mix. this was not a bad roll but looking back, we should have picked something that had different fillings on the top and inside. nonetheless, its a bit pricy for what you get but the spicy topping was quite good. 


overall: sushi star has a very high rating on urbanspoon but i didnt find any of it amazing. the prices are decent especially for downtown and the place is really small and cozy but there's a lot of other sushi waiting for me in vancouver. 

Sushi Star on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

qoola/qoola plus: three part groupon story

frozen absolute favourite sweet treat not only because it makes me feel less guilty (not true from the sugar content by the way) but because i can experience brownies, cheesecake and oreos all at once. groupons get me every single time with their frozen yogurt deals and here at qoola plus in richmond center, was my first visit of 3. 

for frozen yogurt, qoola is actually my least favourite because it melts the quickest and their toppings are the least diverse BUT it is the most convenient being in 3 nearby shopping malls.

i came here with my mom and each groupon is worth 10 dollars of fro yo while i only paid 5 bucks. such a good deal...could not pass it up! 

visit 1

our two frozen yogurts! (guess which one is mine...)

ps. waffle bowls are NOT extra charged, just weighed

some fruity fro yo flavours - mango tango? 
toppings: popping boba, pineapples and waffle bowl

i stole some waffle and sprinkled it on mine :P
but flavours were probably: cheesecake, greek original and chocolate.
toppings: mochi, oreo crumbs, cheesecake bites, brownie bits 

visit 2

came with the brother AND mom this time where my mom and i shared a bowl at qoola in oakridge. 

flavours: peanut butter, chocolate and vanilla
toppings: brownie bites, chocolate rocks, chocolate shavings, cookie dough bits

flavours: cheesecake, greek original, pomegranate berry? 
toppings: mochi, pineapples, oreos, popping boba, mangoes, chocolate shavings

visit 3
back at richmond centre 

not gonna type the toppings/ flavours...its about the same! 

3.5/5 for all (generalized score?) 

price: $0.55/oz

overall: the richmond center location is my favourite because its new and pretty but also cause i feel they have the most toppings and the people working there are really nice! the problem for both locations is the flavours hardly change BUT for fro-yo i really dont care cause it hits the spot! 

Qoola Plus on Urbanspoon Qoola Frozen Yogurt Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 5 July 2014

black dragon sushi: simple rolls and...fries?

summer of 2013 (almost a year ago...whoops) my friends and i decided to try black dragon sushi on kingsway since we love our sushi rolls and their menu seemed to be filled with them!

we started off with some staples that we always order:

salmon roll ($2.50) - not bad, the salmon inside wasnt extremely chopped up but rice was bland. 


california roll ($3.50) - haphazardly put together and bland..not very good.


salmon avocado roll ($3.95) - pretty full but again, rice was not good. texture and taste were poor. 


agadashi tofu ($3.95) - fried nice and crispy, served hot but not enough sauce. 


chicken kaarage ($4.95) - this was the strangest chicken kaarage i ever got at a japanese was like chinese deep fried chicken skin with french fries...i dont even know what to say...


maple roll ($7.25) - crab meat, cucumber and avocado topped with salmon and some mayo: this was not bad for a special roll with the price of only 8 bucks.


yam tempura roll ($3.50)

spicy salmon roll ($3.50)

for both of them, same comments as above. the filling is not bad since they dont skimp out but the rice is not very tasty. 

3/5 for both 

salmon tataki ($10.95) - this was alright as well but again, not enough sauce and didnt have too much flavour other than just the salmon.


overall, the food is fine but bland with hard/tasteless rice and there is nothing special about but the prices are quite decent. i would return to try more special rolls but would not make a special trip out of it. definition of mediocre 

Black Dragon Sushi 龍壽司 on Urbanspoon

Friday, 27 June 2014

booster juice: birthday boost!

if you join booster juice's fan club, you get 1 free juice at your birthday and its the HUGE size. 
(sorry for the ugly picture) 

Mind Over Matcha: Pure Matcha green tea, vanilla soymilk, blueberries, vanilla frozen yogurt & whey protein powder (originally ~$7): I would sadly never pay 7 dollars for this drink but for a freebie it was good! the matcha flavour was prominent and melded well with the blueberry. not TOO sweet from the frozen yogurt but definitely filling. 


overall: good place for a "healthier" snack but more like a dessert or meal 

Booster Juice on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 21 June 2014

haroo korean homestyle cuisine: bibimbap and seafood pancake

my first every bibimbap experience was at haroo in richmond. i decided to try it here because of the extremely high score on urbanspoon but after having this, and then trying multiple other korean restaurants, i dont think it lives up to the hype as its good but not mind-blowing.

we ordered from the lunch menu which is not bad for the price-portion ratio but our seafood pancake was a bit expensive

banchan - complimentary appetizers (?) not sure what the real name is for these but these were good. i did not have anything to compare them to at the time but i remember enjoying them quite a bit, especially the salad dressing. 

bibimbap and tofu soup set and more banchan ($9.95-$10.95: not sure) but a good deal!

bulgolgi soup: this was my favourite part of the combo! it had quite a bit of meat and veggies in it which was surprising and also some vermicelli type noodles as well. it was piping hot through most of the meal and was quite a large bowl to be part of a set.


bibimbap - because it was part of a set, it was a bit smaller but thats okay with me. good but i feel like they were a bit light on the toppings. it was the first time i had bibimbap so i didnt know it was a bit bland in flavour. the hot sauce mixed in was much better but i still felt something was lacking.


haemul-pajeon: seafood pancake ($17.95) - a bit expensive in my opinion even though it wasn't small, i wish they gave us a choice of m/l. there was a decent amount of seafood and vegetable and the pancake itself was quite good but i was very put off by how oily the bottom was. 


overall, the food here is good but not my favourite korean place so far. i think the expensive pancake put me off but the lunch deals are pretty good! i mightve gone in with my expectations too high but i didnt have anything to compare it to either so maybe a return visit is in order? one thing i did like was that the place was very small and warm which made the meal quite comfortable.


Haroo Korean Homestyle Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 14 June 2014

phnom penh: those chicken wings though...

if you havent heard of phnom penh and their chicken wings must not look up vancouver restaurants much. they are extremely popular and i think are now a BIT overrate but regardless, they are some dang good chicken wings. 

phnom penh serves pretty good cambodian and vietnamese cuisine although we all come here for one thing. this restaurant is busy all day, all week, all year. dont expect to come around lunch or dinner without a wait and located in chinatown, there isnt much you can do to pass the time. NOW onto the food..

vietnamese spring rolls ($9.95) - thought they were a bit pricey, they were decent. filled with meat and some noodles (from what i remember..). i actually prefer the spring rolls where the wrapping is more...flakey? these ones taste less greasy that the flaky ones but were still quite oily.


closeup of the spring rolls filling

phnom penh dry rice noodles ($6.95):  - a really good price for a bowl of noodles with a mish mash of toppings including pork parts that i dont even want to know and some shrimp. they definitely dont skimp out on the meat BUT i felt like it could have had more sauce. even when mixing it lots of times, it was a bit bland but since i love noodles, it was alright. 


phnom penh deep fried chicken wings (large - $12.95) - this is what you go all the way to china town for. they have 2 sizes being medium and large (although i remember when i was young, large was WAYYYY larger.) these wings are scrumptious with a garlicky, peppery, salty (msg) flavour and the deep fry is what makes them special. it is super crispy and not like the chinese kind of chicken wings. the batter is much lighter and yes, it is oily but hey, its DEEP FRIED chicken...

4.75/5 (i have personal issues with oily foods) but otherwise 5/5

phnom penh stew beef in hot pot ($12.50) - our last dish was a pot full of beef and some veggies in a spicy broth. i THINK we ordered bread to go with it because you need something to dip into the broth. this was really oily as well (you can see it floating) but the flavour was pretty good although a bit one dimensional


overall: the food is pretty good but i would not trek all the way here if not for the chicken wings. all the other food is good but not BLOW ME AWAY amazing. prices are not high for a lot of the noodles/rice but the special dishes are not cheap either. definitely a must try if you visit vancouver but a person can only eat so many deep fried chicken wings

Phnom Penh 金邊小館 on Urbanspoon

Monday, 9 June 2014

guu gastown: spicy bibimbap guudness

during the summertime, i went with my day camp co workers to guu gastown for a dinner together. we were all super tired from the days and weeks of running around chasing kids so a good meal was needed and exactly what we got a guu gastown. 

nikuygaza: deep fried panko breaded mashed potatoes with beef, carrots and onions ($4.00) - i shared this with a friend leaving us with 2 each but that was more than enough! these little deep fried concoctions were filled with mashed potatoes and i could taste the other ingredients but could not pick them out. they were nice and crispy on the outside and a delicious appetizer! 


kimchi pork bibimbap: spicy rice in a stone bowl with ground pork, kimchi, vegetables and an egg yolk ($8.80) - i love bibimbap and this one was absolutely amazing. a nice and spicy hit that was balanced by the abundance of vegetables. there was also enough meat to go around through the whole bowl and was substantial enough that i even packed leftovers! although not really japanese, it was amazing. 


overall: guu has yet to disappoint me! the location at gastown is a bit hard to find and quite busy but the izakaya feel is more obvious than the richmond location. the food was amazing and at a good price making it a relaxing evening out.

Guu Otokomae on Urbanspoon