RSSArchive for June, 2007

Kyung Bok Palace in Richmond

The Caring Place Community Kitchen celebrated the end of another great session by dining out. We would love to take a break from laboring in the kitchen.

Minnie was asked to bring us to a Korean Restaurant. Minnie, thank you for being our Korean culinary guide again. She brought us to Kyung Bok Palace which located at the Lansdowne Mall in Richmond. I love this bright red signage on the dark wall of the restaurant because it stands out very clearly although I cant read the Korean language.

Kyung Bok Palace

Kyung Bok Palace also has patio seatings and it’s just great for their all you can eat BBQ which is only served in the summer evenings.

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One good thing about Kyung Bok Palace is there is a sample of the dishes served in the restaurant displayed outside the restaurant. These displays are common in the Asian countries. This is a good way to advertise and bring customers in as many will not dare to try new food which they have no idea how the food looks like. The pricing displays along with the model dishes also helps as one can expect how much the food costs.

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All Korean restaurants serve side dishes like these which include soy bean sprouts, braised potatoes, kimchee and other vegetables. You can ask for refill for these side dishes.

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Minnie was incharged of ordering the food for us. Due to the presents of people who cant eat spicy food, Minnie mainly ordered food that is not spicy. The first dish is ‘Galbijjim Jung Sik’ which is braised beef ribs and rice with side dishes. The beef ribs are tender and the sauce is slightly on the heavy side, goes best with the steamed rice. This dish costs $15.95.

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Next came the ‘Haemul Pajeon’ which is Seafood and Green Onion Korean style Pancake. The pancake came in a sizzling hot plate. Jean and Minoo called this Korean Pizza. This dish also costs $15.95.

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Minnie also ordered two ‘Haemul Kalguksu’ which is Seafood with Handmade Noodle. The noodles are really nice and chewy. One bowl costs $7.95. The bowl is huge and good for 2 to 3 people.

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We also had ‘Tangsuyuk’ which is Sweet and Sour Pork. The pork is deep fried to crispy and drenched with lots of sauce, should goes well with rice too. This dish costs $17.95.

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Lastly, we had ‘Japchae’ which is Stir-fried Sweet Potato Noodles with Shredded Meats and Vegetables like Spinach, Onion, Carrot and Mushrooms. I wonder if the sweet potato noodle is more healthy than the regular wheat noodle. This dish cost $15.95.

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Overall, the meal is good except the pricing is slightly on the high side. This meal costs $95 including tips. I would like to mention that some of the members did not turn up and Minnie had ordered enough food for 10 people. The five of us ended up eating all the food and no dinner for me, I’m not sure about the rest of them. Nevertheless, we had a great time checking out each other’s summer plan and wishing each other a great summer. We’ll meet again in September.

Kyung Bok Palace on Urbanspoon

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Liberty Bakery on Main Street, Vancouver

LotusRapper recommended Liberty Bakery to us. Liberty Bakery is located at the corner of Main St and E. 21st Ave. You will not miss this bright orange building. There are street parkings and two parking spots at the rear of the bakery.

Liberty Bakery is an European style bakery with a Swedish chef. It is just perfect for Polly and me because it opens early, i.e. 8 am.

Liberty Bakery on Main Street, Vancouver

The interior decoration is simple and rustic. The furnitures are made of wood and painted colourfully. The decoration theme seems to focus on crows as there were quite a few crows posters on the walls.

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There is even a wooden crow on the display window. Hmm, to the Asians, crow brings bad luck. I wonder what crows means to other ethnic society?

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Liberty Bakery serves pastries….

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… tarts, cookies …

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… sandwiches, chocolate coated cakes…

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… muffins and cakes.

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We ordered four items to share because the items are small and only cost less than $3 each. Polly and I will not miss to try any cheesecakes. So, we ordered a slice of cherry cheesecake, …

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… and a slice of apple cheesecake for $2.50 each. These cheesecakes are less sinful as there are not a lot of cream cheese in them. So, we can enjoy them without feeling guilty.

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In addition, we ordered a slice of cinnamon custard cake which is crunchy on the top due to the almond coating and the cake is sweet and moist due to the custard filing. This slice costs for $1.75.

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We also ordered a Dobos slice which is layered cake coated in chocolate and topped with almonds. The hard coating is a good contrast to to soft cake inside. This slice costs $2.50.

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Both of us also ordered a Mocha to enjoy with the cakes. The Mocha costs $3.00.

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Overall, this is a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee with your favourite cakes or pastries , especially with the company of a good friend. LotusRapper, thank you for your recommendation.

Liberty Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Wilton Cake Decorating Level 1

I like to bake cakes but they are all cakes without frosting because I simply dont know how to frost a cake. One day when we were shopping a Michaels, Ben noticed that Michaels offers cake decorating class on a notice board in the store. So, I signed up for it since the course is free with the condition that you buy the student kit for the course.

There are four levels in the Wilton Cake Decorating course. Each level has four classes and the class is two hours each on a weekly basis.

The student kit for level one costs $29.99 plus tax. The kit consists of some of basic items like a spatula, seven tips, a flower nail, a tip brush, a decorator brush, a practice board set, two 10″ featherweight decorating bags, a disposable decorating bag and two standard couplers. We were given a coloured course material book too.

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In the course, we were taught how to make different consistency buttercream icing. The different consistency is meant for different decorating tips. For example, thin consistency is for the base icing for the cake and printing. The medium consistency is mainly to create motives using tips while the stiff consistency is for creating larger motives like a rose. Well, I would not know all this without going to a course like this.

We also learned how to prepare a cake for decorating; from baking, leveling, torting, filling and icing the cake. Before we start to create motives with the different tips, we learned about the correct bag position with the right angle and direction. We also learned about pressure control to create different size and uniformity of the icing designs. It seems like a lot to learn but you will get the hang of it with practice.

Finally, we got to decorating our cakes. We have to prepare a cake with icing to bring to the class so that we can decorate it after we learn how to using the icing tips to create different icing motives. This the my first decorated cake with mainly star tips.

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I made a chocolate cake base as my kids love chocolate cake.

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My second cake had drop flowers and shell decorating. I find that the shell is very difficult to do especially when you need to get consistent shells. The shell is very common for borders.

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A side view of the cake.

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By the last lesson, we learnt how to make the Wilton Rose, sweet peas, bows, leaves and vines. I cant believe I made this cake.

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I’m amazed that I can create a cake like this with just a few lessons. I will blogged about the other levels when I get the time to attend them. This is a great course and I would recommend those who are interested in cake decorating to join it.

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BonQuLa Fusion Restaurant and Cafe in Richmond

Updated: 4th Oct 2010: This restaurant is closed via Vancouver Sushi.

The Gilmore Park Church community kitchen opted to eat out on the last day of our meeting before the summer break. Lorna suggested to eat at BonQuLa Fusion Restaurant and Cafe at the Olympia Centre in Richmond.

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The restaurant is located at #165-8460 Alexandra Road; the strip mall across Toys’R'Us in Lansdowne Mall. This is a very new fusion restaurant, less than a month old. The owner of the restaurant is an ex-member of the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen.

The chef of BonQuLa is the daughter of the owner, her name is Kaori Kuruyama. Chef Kaori was a piano teacher in Japan, but she changed her career after she came to Canada. She studied French cuisine at the Culinary Arts in Vancouver Community College. She is creating her own fusion food with her Japanese inheritage and her French cooking skills.

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The word ‘Bon’ means ‘Ordinary’, the word ‘Qu’ means ‘Eat’ and the word ‘La’ means ‘Enjoy’. The owner named the restaurant BonQuLa because they want the customer to enjoy their food comfortably.

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What stands out to us is the menu which is made of handcrafted paper. A simple but unique menu.

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We did not place specific orders but asked the chef to recommend some of their signature dishes. Like many Japanese restaurants, we were served hot green tea. However, they did not place a teapot on the table for us to help ourselves. They served the tea to us instead.

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First came the bread baskets like most western restaurants. The difference is they served soft and sweet bread instead of crusty bread. The bread basket has a variety of sweet bread like chocolate bread, walnut bread and sweet potato bread. I like these breads. I understand from Kaori that bread baking is her passion and she enjoys seeing her customer enjoying her bread before a meal.

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Next is a Green Field Salad. The salad is accompanied with homemade potato chips. The salad is mainly made of lettuces with fresh blueberries, walnuts and dried cranberries and some other dried fruits.

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They served a very rich, creamy and buttery Pumpkin Soup as one of the starters. Very different from traditional Japanese restaurants which normally serve Miso soup.

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The tempura platter is filled with fried chicken, artificial crab stick, prawn, onion, bamboo shoot, aubergine, long beans. and other vegetables. This is the first dish with Japanese element in it.

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Next is Pork Cutlet Sandwich with Home Made Bread. This is more like a clubhouse sandwich. Well received by the group.

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The Ground Beef Steak with Teriyaki Sauce is another fusion food with Japanese element in it. It uses hamburgers but cooked in Teriyaki Sauce, more like tepanyaki style.

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The next dish is a form of sushi but presented in a very unique way. It’s sushi rice with a layer of preserved vegetable in between the rice and top with cooked salmon and avocado. I found a dish called Bonqula Kawari Sushi on their menu and I guess this must the one.

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Our last dish is more like an appetizer. Its a kind of cracker used as a bowl to hold some raw seafood and sweet peppers and garnished with seaweed. They are very photogenic indeed.

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We ended our meal with a cup of coffee and a tiramisu. A sweet finishing. I enjoyed the tiramisu.

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This meal costs us $13 each, including tips and taxes. We had a great time and I must say that the service is good. The Gilmore Park Church community kitchen wishes the owner and Chef Kaori to succeed in this new venture.

BonQuLa Fusion Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Uncle Sun Abalone Chicken Soup

Vincent gave me this pack of Chinese Herbal Soup to try. He recommended this to me as he said that it’s a simple soup to make and it tastes quite nice.

Uncle Sun Abalone Chicken Soup

All you need is to add 3 liters (6 bowls) of water and a whole chicken, cut into four pieces. Bring the water to a boil and add the chicken and the contents of the soup pack and simmer on low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours.

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The soup has slight hint of abalone and Chinese herbs flavour. Its just the kind of soup we like, clear and mild in flavour. Vincent, thank you for recommending this soup to us.

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Evergreen Garden Chinese Restaurant in Richmond

Update 11-Dec-2008: This restaurant had closed down. In it’s place is the Szechuan Harvest Moon Cuisine.

I think this place is new. I am sure that there was a Chinese restaurant in this location before but we had never walked in. Anyway, I am talking about the Empire Square along the No 3 Road. It’s in the same strip mall as Hon’s. Oh, talking about No 3 Rd, wouldn’t you all say that it’s a complete mess with the Canada Line construction?

Evergreen Garden Chinese Restaurant in Richmond

It was just three of us that day. We decided to try someplace new. It’s kind of hard convincing Nanzaro to try a new restaurant. As long as they make Salted Fish Fried Rice or Pho, he’s OK. Well, the Evergreen Garden Chinese Restaurant is NOT one of those places. Nanzaro was sulking throughout. On well, it’s MY turn to choose the place to eat today … and I pay too, so I get more rights to choose right? :-)

We were there just after 5 pm. and the place was still quiet then. It was pretty spacious with lots of tables that extended even to the back.

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They initially gave us the menu in Chinese and we had to ask them for one in English. For a moment we thought we are in one of those all-Chinese restaurant where they not only do not have menu in English, the waitresses does not even speak English. With our poor Mandarin and all, we would have walked out.

Well, well … we certainly liked the way their menu is laid out. Their popular Set Dinner Combo menu is priced by the number of “dishes” you order. Since there were just the three of us … well, two and a half … we went for the 2-dish combo which costs $24.80. The 4-dish combo ($45+) would have been too much for us.

The Set Dinner Combo menu has a very wide selection of dishes. We counted about 77 in all. The Combo also include all-you-can-eat rice, soup of the day and dessert. The soup of the day was winter melon and pork soup with some herbs and barley. It was absolutely delicious.

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I had always liked rice that comes in a plastic bucket. First, it’s all you can eat. I just find it such a hassled being asked how many bowls of rice we wanted when we had no idea how big or small a bowl is. Also, the price of a bowl of rice various from places … with some charging up to $1.50 a bowl! And then, rice in a bucket keeps the rice warm and nice longer.

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The first dish we ordered was what is called the Oyster with Ginger and Green Onion Hotpot. It was served sizzling hot and smells really, really good. We expected the oysters smaller (well, Asian oysters were smaller) but these were big pieces. They had been coated with cornstarch and deep fried. Nanzaroo was not pleased when we ordered this dish as he does not like the thought of oysters but he ended up eating most of them! It was a great dish. With a bit more gravy, it would have been a tad better.

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It’s been a while since we had pomfrets. The simple pan-fried pomfret in soy sauce sounded so good and ordered that. To our surprise, it came in a pair of large fleshy fishes. The fish were deep fried to crisp on the outside. The soy sauce is just perfect … not salty.

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The dessert that came along with the Dinner Combo is Red Bean Dessert Soup — just as we thought before we asked them. It was thick and creamy … just so-so.

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By the time our dishes came to our tables, we noticed that the entire restaurant had already filled up with a few people already waiting for tables in the waiting area. I must say that they are really understaffed and can see how harried everyone was.

Total bill came to $29 including tips. We like this place a lot and will definitely be back. However, this is not a place that you can sit back and slowly enjoy your dinner. There were so many customers waiting that the waitress will come by and clear your table as soon as you finished your meal so that your table is free for the waiting customers. Highly recommended.

Ever Green Garden Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffin

Back to basic baking, I made some Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffin for breakfast. Muffin is little cake that can be prepared quickly.

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffin

This muffin recipe has cinnamon in it and I love baking with cinnamon because the kitchen will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon as when the muffin is baking.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Ganache Patisserie in Downtown Vancouver

Ganache Patisserie is a cake shop which specializes in chocolates, pastries and wedding cakes. It is located at 1262 Homer Street in downtown Vancouver.

Ganache Patisserie in Downtown Vancouver

There are street parkings all around and this place is easy to find. Ganache specializes mainly on wedding cakes but there are three small tables for people to sit in to enjoy the single serving cakes with coffee and tea.

There are quite a number of displays of multi-tiers cakes in the shop. They are simply pleasing to the eyes. One will also noticed the French influence as there are a number of the cakes with the Eiffel tower garnishing. Here are a few of them:

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Besides cakes, Ganache also sells a variety of cookies which are displayed on a wall cabinet.

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Polly and I were more interested in the single serving cakes behind the glass buffet.

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After a while of consideration, we finally picked three items to share. It is always difficult to make our choices as we would love to try everything.

The first item is called Pave Matcha. It is a multilayers cake consists of matcha biscuit, poppy seed biscuit, matcha buttercream, black sesame buttercream and passion fruit. This cake has a nutty flavour and interesting textures when you bite into it. This piece costs $5.75.

Pave Matcha

The second item is Opera Noissette. It is made up of dark chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream and a hazelnut biscuits with praline crunch. The base of the cake is very crunchy and this is a very rich chocolate cake. Great for chocolate lover. This piece costs $5.50.

Opera Noissette

The last item is a Tiramisu Chocolate. Its tiramisu cream with 70% dark chocolate mousse, lady finger biscuit and espresso syrup. This creamy piece costs $5.25.

Tiramisu Chocolate

Polly had a premium tea to go with the cakes while I had a single Americano. The tea costs $2.25 while my coffee costs $1.85.

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We also got two pieces of complementary chocolate truffles from the server. A good gesture. We will be back again.

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Ganache Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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