Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony Rehearsal — Free Tickets

Update 04Feb: This contest is now closed. Will announce the winner of the 2+1 tickets later on today.

Some of you who follows chowtimes.com will know that Arksensen and Nanzaro will be performing in the Vancouver 2010 Closing Ceremony. Until today, Suanne and I still do not know a single thing about the closing ceremony. Any question we had always been met with “I am not commenting” response followed by a change of topic.

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The Vancouver 2010 organizers surprised the boys by giving them 10 tickets to the Dress Rehearsal of the Opening  Ceremony. Frankly, Suanne and I were more excited than them. Arkensen and Nanzaro is more excited about their other freebies than the the tickets.

This is NOT from us. This is from Arkensen and Nanzaro. They have decided to donate 3 tickets to chowtimes.com as a give-away!!

We went and check if anyone is selling the tickets. Oh yeah, people are selling it at upwards of $250 per ticket on Craigslist. But you are going to get it for free on chowtimes. Here is how … Continue reading

How To Bake Apples

Besides all the dips, Minoo also demonstrated a dessert recipe in the South Arm Community Kitchen. It is simply Baked Apples. This is a great fall recipe when apples are in abundance.

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These Baked Apples will be heavenly with some vanilla ice-cream.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries or raisins
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice

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The aroma of baking with cinnamon is so enticing that your guests will feel hungry the moment they step into your home.

Source: unknown

Prep time: 20 minutes; Bake time: 20 minutes; Serve: 4

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How To Make Mixed Olive Tapenade

Among all the dips made in the South Arm Community Kitchen, this is my least favourite because olives is not my cup of tea. But this is great for those who loves olives like Minoo and Tanni.

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I find that this Mixed Olive Tapenade is very salty.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted, assorted green and black olives
  • two anchovy filets or two squirts of anchovy paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • juice of a lemon
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil

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Source: unknown

Prep time: 15 minutes; Yield: 1 cup

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How To Make Red Pepper and Almond Dip

Red Pepper and Almond Dip is the best among all the dips made in the South Arm Community Kitchen. It is very sweet and has an amazing great flavours from the roasted garlic and roasted red peppers.

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Source: unknown

Prep time: 45 minutes;  Yield: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

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How To Make Beet and Carrot Dip

This Beet and Carrot Dip has the most amazing colour. This is one of my favourite dip among all the dips as this dip is sweet. The natural sweetness comes from the beets and the carrots.

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Source: unknown

Prep time: 30 minutes; Yield: 2 cups (500ml)

Ingredients

  • 1 large beet, washed
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) crumbled feta
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1ml) freshly ground black pepper

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How To Make Baba Gha-Hummus

When I asked Minoo about the origin of this dish, she told me it’s a combination of Persian’s Baba Ganouj (an eggplant dip) and Greek Hummus, hence the name Baba Gha-Hummus.

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Minoo is not sure of the source of this recipe as she has a huge repertoire of recipes collection.

Prep time: 45 mins;  Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

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How To Make Lime Spiked Black Bean Dip

The next dip which Minoo made in the South Arm Community Kitchen is Lime Spiked Black Bean Dip. This dip is very easy to make and perfect for any casual gathering.

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The Lime Spiked Black Bean Dip tastes best at room temperature. This recipe is adapted from myrecipe.com.

Prep time: 15 minutes; Standing time: 30 minutes;  Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 x 15 ounces cans black beans
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeeze lime juice, about 2 limes (we substituted with lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper or cayenne

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How To Make Tzatziki

In the South Arm Community Kitchen, Minoo whipped up 6 dips. These dips are great for game nights with a group of friends. They also made great appetizers.

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These dips can be served with baguette, pita bread, corn chips, crackers and assortment of vegetables.

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We simply love the great colours of the dips. Can you guess it by its colour?

The first dip is Tzatziki which is popular in Greek cuisine.

Source: unknown

Prep time: 10 mins;  Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek style yogurt
  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 2 small shallots finely chopped or 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

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If you cannot find Greek yogurt which sometimes called Mediterranean-style yogurt, you can make your own substitute with plain yogurt. Just line a colander with a double layer cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Pour in 2 cups of plain yogurt and chill overnight in the fridge. Discard the liquid the next morning. You’ll end up with 1 cup of Greek-style yogurt which is thicker than plain yogurt.

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Tangthai Cuisine of Thailand on Robson and Denman, Vancouver

Updated: 27th July 2012: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Complete Disclosure:
Suanne and I were invited by the Tangthai Cuisine of Thailand for a tasting session. This post is based upon the complimentary tasting session.

Some of the best Thai cuisine restaurants that we had tasted was at Tangthai on Broadway. I still remember that visit to Tangthai. It was just the day before we went on a 3 week gastronomic vacation to Spain (Barcelona, Seville and Madrid). It was a rush for us but we went nevertheless. Our mind was clearly not on blogging but it turned out to be more than we expected.

We were impressed at the tasting during summer at Tangthai Broadway and how Dhitichaya Ruengsamarnwong worked so hard to bring authenticity to her restaurant and her food. See our previous blog posting on Tangthai Broadway here.

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Since our last visit, Tangthai had just opened another restaurant with the same name. This new one is located on Robson at the intersection with Denman.

With floor to ceiling glass walls in front, Tangthai on Robson looks a lot more inviting. As we walked into the restaurant, Suanne and I were surprised that Dhitichaya pasted a poster of our review on the entrance of the restaurant. We are just small time bloggers and seeing our post in a poster form was simply surreal. LOL!

Location wise, this new Tangthai restaurant is way better than the one on Broadway. There are lots of foot traffic for sure.

Assisted by her husband, Deo, the main person behind Tangthai is Dhitichaya Ruengsamarnwong. It is such a long name that I am sure that most people will find it hard to remember. So, Suanne and I just called her by her nickname, Sonia.

The Tangthais of Vancouver is an offshoot of a successful Thai restaurant called Padthai in Edmonton.

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Tangthai tries to differentiate itself by being authentic. It is pretty evident as we walked through the doors and greeted with Thai carvings and statues.

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The dining area is adorned with wooden panel carvings. Even the carved table tops were made in Thailand and shipped to Canada. While it was a very nice and pleasant dining area, it is still a little rough around the edges. This is coming from a perfectionist me although I understand that they had just started operation just a few weeks back.

Tangthai has a two level dining area. At the time we were there, only the ground floor is opened to the public. Sonia told us that the upstairs dining area is just days from opening as they put in the finishing touches. I felt that the upstairs dining area would be a great place for people-watching because it overlooks the busy Robson street.

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Suanne and I were not alone this time.

When Sonia contacted us that they wanted to invite us to a media event of sorts to introduce the new Tangthai restaurant, we expressed that we will not like to go to an event that we just jostle with hoards of people and sample minuscule morsels of food. I think food bloggers should be treated with more respect than that! So, I suggested that it would be more meaningful for us if we have a proper sitdown dinner and sample proper food in a proper setting. Sonia liked the idea and then said “bring along your friends too”.

So we brought along friends … quite a lot of them. Blogger friends!

Suanne and I decided to invite some of the very best and most prolific Vancouver area food bloggers along for this tasting. Can you recognize any of them above? The ones that attended are:

I’ll put up a link to their reviews here the moment they post theirs. There were a couple other bloggers who could not make it unfortunately.

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We started off with something called the Prawn Skirt ($9 for four). We had this before and it is good. It is like spring rolls except that they used better ingredients. It is stuffed with prawn, minced crab meat and water chestnut which gives a very distinct texture.  With the sweet chili dipping sauce, it is a good combination.

Too bad we were eating this with friends. This is because I can only do one dipping on the sauce. If I am with Suanne, I will dip into the sauce before each bite.

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The Prawn Skirts were followed by another appetizer. This is Beef and Chicken Satay (4 for $7).

Hah! I did not know that Thais have satay. As far as I know, only Malaysia and Indonesia lay claim to having invented the satay. One of these days Malaysia and Indonesia could go to war over this claim. OK I am exaggerating but at times this is a heated topic.

But Sonia insisted that satay is as much Thai as it is Malaysian or Indonesian. I give her the benefit of the doubt.

There are a lot of similarities to the Malaysian satay but there are also some subtle differences that makes it unique.

It appears that the marinate used is largely similar particularly the use of turmeric which gives it the yellowish tint. I told Sonia that there is a big flaw on her satay and that is the absence of chicken skin. LOL! No seriously. In Malaysia, the best satays have the skin on the skewer which makes it more juicy. I understand why she did not have it because Vancouverites are such health freaks.

The peanut sauce is smooth and creamy unlike the original Malaysian version which is peanuty and chunky. My expectations are biased to the Malaysian version but in all fairness the satay is pretty good.

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Tom Kha Kai. That is spicy chicken coconut soup ($4).

Tangthai uses lean chicken meat in the coconut milk based soup. The soup was rich and lightly spicy. We find that this soup is thicker than what we normally get elsewhere. This is delicious. Personally, I would have prefer to try Tom Yam simply because Tom Yam is a national dish of Thailand.

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The first thing I noticed when the dish came was the food carving.

One of the thing we vividly remember from our last visit to Tangthai Broadway was their very impressive food carving. It seems like they had tone this down a little and not as spectacular here.

This dish is called Pla Rad Prik  ($16). This is deep fried tilapia with sweet and sour sauce. The sauce is more on the sweet side than it is sour which I prefer for fishes.

Tangthai deep fried this so crisp that the some parts of the bones and fins are brittle enough to eat.

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No one touched the head. Good!

I know Suanne would want to pick the flesh. She always does but in the presence of people she did not. Not me.

I had it … all mine!

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Sonia told us that this is a new dish she had just introduced to the menu. So we are kind of a guinea pig of hers for this new dish. LOL!

This is called Pla Mul Pad Prik ($16) or Stuffed Squid in Green Curry Sauce. Nestled among the squid is pieces of fig.

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Sonia said that this is a common dish in Thailand. This dish has a pronounced lemon grass flavour. Although lacking in color, it is quite spicy. I would say unexpectedly spicy despite knowing that it is curry.

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The squid is stuffed primarily with … Continue reading

Fatty Cow Seafood Hot Pot on Victoria Dr and 35th Ave, Vancouver

When it comes to hot pot, Richmond has a lot of choices. As a matter of fact, most of the top Chinese hot pot restaurants are found in Richmond. Just to name a few … Chubby Lamb, Hot Pot One, Point Zero Four Fusion, Garden City Hot Pot, and Mongolian Hot Pot.

There is a new one newly opened in Vancouver that I think will give Richmond’s hot pot restaurants a run for the money.

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We heard of rave reviews about Fatty Cow. We also heard that they are expensive too. Hot Pot meals are not cheap anyway and one could easily expect to spend $20 upwards anywhere you go. So even if Fatty Cow was expensive, it was just a few dollars more. So that did not deter us since it was just two of us.

Fatty Cow is located on Victoria Drive at the intersection of 35th Ave. From the outside, Fatty Cow looks very impressive and modern.

We were there early again. When we walked in at 5PM, they were just finishing setting up for the dinner. They open only at 5:30PM and asked that we return later. You know, I wish that restaurants have the sense to allow customers to just take a seat and explain that they are not ready. A simple gesture like that does not take much on the part of the restaurant but customers not only will understand, they will be appreciative.

Well, there was no where to go and it was not exactly a warm day. So we waited in the car until 5:30PM.

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Fatty Cow has got to be one of the prettiest looking hot pot restaurants we had ever been to. It was still new. They had just opened barely a month ago. Everything has a glint to it. Even the workers wears suit like they do in high end Chinese restaurants.

Service is excellent — from the captain to the staff who came by all the time to fill our tea and top up the soup. They even come by every now and then to help us check the temperature. Each time I reach for the controls at the side of the table, often someone will come by and help.

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Don’t you like the new dishware and utensils? We do. It was so sparkling clean. They are even logo’d. Not many hot pot restaurants bother to create a logo/branding for their restaurants unless they are branches of successful hot pot restaurants in Asia. So I was just wondering if Fatty Cow is one of such branches.

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One thing we did not like about Fatty Cow is that they charges extra for sauces. Each serving is 50 cents. The above three is free but if you want additional ones, you gotta pay for it.

The three they gave us was the soy sauce, sesame and sar char. They were excellent. We particularly like the soy sauce which is light and sweet. Good thing they gave us an entire bowl of it.

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Since we like raw garlic we got the above as an extra … 50 cents. Next time we come to Fatty Cow, we will bring our own condiments in small plastic containers.

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Click on the menu above for a larger image. As you can see, it is not cheap. It is $20 per person for Monday through Thursday and $21 for Friday to Sunday. And that is just the start. That price does not include the soup base. The soup base is another $7 and $8.50 if you want a double soup. Good thing is the soup base is charged per table and not per person.

There is a very good selection of meat, dumplings, vegetables, seafood, and noodles. They even have premium seafood items which again comes as extra. You can see how the prices could just add up easily.

No, we did not get the premium seafood items. Too expensive.

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For the soup base, we opted for a double soup base. The left side is called the Fatty Cow Hot and Spicy. We wouldn’t have ordered this if not for the fact they branded this with their name.

The milky soup base on the left side was recommended by the captain as their most popular soup base. This is called spare ribs broth.

I like their burner. It is very responsive. It will boil up the soup in just 3 seconds the moment you crank it up and you could stop the boiling instantaneously too.

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The Fatty Cow Hot and Spicy soup base is just that — SPICY. There are lots of peppercorns in it. See above? The above is just one scoop from the soup base. Frankly I felt it was way too much. So much that we ended up scooping it off to the plate and added it back to the broth if we want to spice it up.

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As for the Spare Rib Broth, it was very good. There are a lot of beansprout and even pieces of pork in it. We took the beansprout out because we like the broth not so “busy”.

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This thing above is wonderful. It is in the snack section of the menu …

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… Fried Fish Skin. It is light and tasted wonderful. They said they make it themselves. It was oily but was just so crispy. This is one snack you should get to start off the meal.

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To make your money worthwhile, you should just focus first on … Continue reading