When Ben is back in Vancouver, he likes to make a day trip to Bellingham. Just for food and shopping. This has become a ritual to him. He likes to check out snacks that is not available in Vancouver.
We had lunch at Mykonos Greek Restaurant in Bellingham. Mykonos is a chain restaurant.
It was pretty quiet when we were there.
We ordered from the Greek specialties menu. Ben had the Paidakia while I had the Souvlaki.
Despite that the restaurant was not busy, service was rather slow. It took about 15 minutes before our first item arrived. First came some piping hot pita bread. We had to wait for our meal to be served to enjoy the pita because the tzatziki came with the meal.
My Lamb Souvlaki. You can either have it with rice or fries. I prefer rice. The rice was flavourful. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Emily, Marian, Lorna and I met up for lunch and get together in early October.
We met up at Kisamos Greek Taverna at noon. Free 2 hours street parking available.
The restaurant was not too busy yet when we arrived.
We waited quite a while for Emily as she had to sent her daughter for a job interview. We ordered the Kisamos Platter for 2 to share among the three of us first since Emily was late. The Kisamos Platter for 2 is $40.95. First came the Greek Salad of onions, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, pickled chili and feta cheese.
Next came the pita bread. The server did not bring the homous to go with the bread. When we asked for it, the server told us that the dip will come with the platter. We asked for the homous to be served first so that we can have it the bread.
The server brought out the homous and tzatziki dips for us. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Tibisti Foods & Grill has been on our wishlist for a long while. Ben had been away for business trips a lot. Finally we managed to go to Tibisti before his long assignment to Beijing again.
Tibisti Foods & Grill is an all day grill which serves Mediterranean food and middle eastern food. It is a halal restaurant.
We should have come on a Wednesday as the Roast Lamb Meal is at promotional price of $9.99 on Wednesday.
There is nothing much on decoration in this restaurant. Just some tables and chairs which are spaciously set. I came here for the food and I’m not bothered by the decor as long as it’s clean.
Ben ordered the Lamb Chop Meal for $14.99. All the meal here is served with biryani rice, Greek salad, Tzatziki sauce and baked potatoes. Somehow, Ben’s plate is missing the baked potatoes.
The server told us that the lamb chop is made with fresh lamb. There were 5 pieces of lamb chops. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
I have always heard that Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna is popular and the lines were legendary. Still I was amazed with what I saw.
Suanne and I decided to go to Stepho’s our Friday night out. Since we heard that the lines was long, we decided to be there early. We were already at Stepho’s at 4:45PM. I mean there should be no waiting for a table right? After all, how many people would eat at that time. Wrong!
While we did not have to endure waiting outside the restaurant, yet we still had to wait inside for 30 minutes. Shortly after we got seated, the lines began to form outside.
By the time we left at close to seven, the line stretches over to the neighboring shop! Amazing, everyone seems to be patiently waiting. I think this is at least an hour wait for these people … most likely more!
For these people there is a two-stage line. One is outside and a smaller group inside the restaurant. It took us 30 minutes just waiting inside the restaurant. So just imagine how long this line will take.
So Suanne and I was certainly excited to finally check out Stepho’s. It has all the signs of a very successful restaurant. For one, they had just celebrated their 20th anniversary last year. There were a lot of wait staff working at a furious pace. It seems like they barely are able to keep it all together.
The inside of the restaurant is larger than we thought. It was also very dark for the most part. It just happened that we were seated at the darkest table in the restaurant. I had to manually crank up the camera’s ISO setting to 1600. So the pictures here are rather grainy and soft.
I tried their Greek white wine. There is a name for this but I just can’t remember what it is now. I did not like it. It tasted somewhat coarse and dry. This is $5 for a glass.
You know what makes Stepho’s so popular? It’s their price and especially their humongous portions. Yet despite knowing that, we ordered an appetizer to share.
It is a Stepho’s creation called Toriboukes ($6) … or just cheese balls in English. It is served with … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
The Greek Summer Festival 2010: June 29th to July 11th.
Suanne and I were invited by Amir, the Executive Director of the Greek Summer Festival, to the event to experience Living A Day The Greek Way. Suanne and I had been having way too many invites these days but this was one event we could not turn down because we felt we had so much to learn.
We met Amir and to our surprise, he had actually gotten the people behind the event together so that we could meet them. Never in our imagination how much history there are behind this annual event.
The Greek Summer Festival had started as a one day event 23 years ago organized by the Greek Orthordox Community of East Vancouver. The event’s main goal is to raise funds (this year they partner with Make a Wish Foundation) and to introduce to Vancouver the richness of Greek culture, traditions and FOOD!
They told us how this one day event grew from one-day event to an event that spans two weekends around Canada Day. This year’s event runs from June 26th to July5th.
George Economous was our host of the evening who was gracious enough to spend two hours that day to bring us around the place and showed us the event behind the scene. He he he … Suanne and I felt like we were on a guided tour of Greece! We were so intrigued by the stories we are hearing we decided to learn more before digging in to the food. But since this is a food blog, I gonna share with you the most important aspect of this festival … FOOD … especially …
… LAMBS. If there is only one thing we came away impressed, it was the lamb. Being Chinese who generally finds lamb gamey, we ended up thinking of lamb in a much different light.
The Greek Summer Festival sold a whopping 465 lambs within 10 days in the festival last year. This year, they are on track to break last year’s count and I am not going to be surprised. We met George “The Real Boss” (the person above is George “the Host”). George “the Real Boss” is the man behind these lambs since the inception of the Greek Summer Festival. Boy, he sure has lots of stories to tell and BBQ burn scars to show too!!
They used to do this by hand and using charcoal but today they have a whole row of rotisseries imported from Greece that slowly cooks this. It takes four hours of slow cooking to make each. They use the very best New Zealand lamb because of the tenderness of the meat and of the consistent size. They tried to use local lambs but gave up because it was best only during Easter period.
They used to chop the lamb piece by hand. It is impossible to keep up with the demands that they had introduced new ways and machines to do the job better and faster.
Many people actually come to the Greek Summer Festival only for their lambs. People would drop by the festival on their way home to pick the lambs on the spit up by the kilo ($32) or half-kilo ($16).
Some people even order the whole lamb. That is $185 and is more than enough for 20 people. They will cut it to your choice. Sometimes there are customers who comes in a group and order an entire lamb to feast at the festival. That would be fun!
This is what Suanne and I had — the Lamb Dinner, Bone-In. This is wonderful … perfecto in every aspect. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Polly had mentioned a couple of times that she would like to try Greek food one day. So, we went to Felicos for lunch instead going for our early morning cake meet. Felicos only opens for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Fortunately, Polly’s off day is Friday.
Felicos is located at 8140 Leslie Road, Richmond, at the corner of Leslie Road and Hazelbridge Way. It has a unique store front and you will not miss it. Felicos has a large sitting capacity. The wall is painted in earthy tone and the interior is decorated with a couple of columns. It has a very Greek feel to it.
Since we were going for lunch, Polly and I had a nice walk at the northerm arm of the Fraser River, along River Road. It was a very sunny day and the water was so blue.
Felicos often offers the above deals in the local newpapers. This clipping is from Richmond Review. We opted for the Felicos platter for two. It sounds like a good deal.
To start off, Polly ordered a virgin cocktail called Cranberry Sunset for $3.25. It’s a combination of cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon, lime and soda. It is very light and refreshing.
I had a Mango Lada which is made of mango and coconut milk. The Mango Lada costs $3.95. It is so rich and creamy that I only manage to finish half of the glass.
The platter for two starts off with a Greek salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and a single olive. The salad is fresh and refreshing. The feta cheese gives it a nice balance of saltiness. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
For the good three quarter of this year, my work life had been consumed with what is called Project “ONE”. It was an important cornerstone for a series of ambitious projects that will put in place the world’s largest system that will manage and distribute “fares”. You probably have no idea how archaic existing aviation systems are — many of which are still done on mainframes with green-screen monitors. This is because aviation systems are one of the early adopters of computers and it had been that way for generations. So the so-called Project “ONE” goal is to move systems out of mainframes to an open system — sounds easy but it’s not.
The eight months of hard work were filled with daily voice, web and video conferences because the various teams are located in many parts of the world with the project managed centrally in Vancouver. There were quite a bit travel when face-time is required especially when it comes to plannings. Anyway, this blog entry is dedicated to the “boys and girls” who had so successfully rolled out a swanky new system which is getting rave reviews from airlines all over the world.
To the team members of Project “ONE” — this blog entry is for you.
We had a little celebration for the successful execution of the project by having a lunch at Vassilis. Timing was bad such that we had been given directive that cost cutting is to strictly enforced because of the expected downturn in the aviation industry viz the meltdown of the financial sector in the US. Going to an Asian place is out of the questions because the white blokes would end up eating nothing. So, we eventually settled for Greek. It narrowed down to either Minoas or Vasssilis.
We eventually decided on the Vassilis Souvloaki Greek Taverna. Vassilis is located on 6558 Kingsway in Burnaby. That is at the almost eastern end of Kingsway. Parking is plentiful in front of the building and you will not miss it along Kingsway.
Question for you all … does anyone of you know why the Greeks like blue and white so much? I mean, I know the colors on their flag is blue and white but why blue? Just about EVERY Greek restaurant I know paints their restaurant blue and white.
Inside, it is really spacious with many sections and rooms. This is because this restaurant used to be a mansion of sorts eons before Kingsway became commercialized. All over the place … there are these little plants hanging all over the place. Geez … I was thinking how much time they had to spend watering them. Despite this, the interior were very bright because they installed sky lights (?) that allows natural sunlight into the dining rooms.
We went on a Friday afternoon. I expected lots of people but no, it was just half full the whole time we were there.
Most of us took a lot of time figuring out what to order. Other than Souvlaki, many of us knows next to nothing about Greek cuisine. You know, hardly anyone ordered drinks at all.
Surprisingly, they have a really tiny 2-page menu only. It makes the selection easier. I was not very sure but the menus we were given were perhaps just their lunch menu.
Most people will just order the most expensive item because the project is paying! I had planned for $40-$50 per person but according to the menu, $30 will cover it quite nicely.
We got a couple of their Hot Appetizer Platter. It has spanakopita, kalamari, artichokes, “fektethes” and tzatziki. This one is $29 each which I thought was quite expensive and the most expensive item on the menu. It was great but I would think that this should not have costs that much.
The above is tzatziki, I think. I said “I think” because this one looked prettier than the blob I normally had with Souvlaki in the food court. How does one normally eat this? I use it like a spread on items like bread, the spanakopita and such. I sometimes apply it on top of the rice too.
The bread was just so-so but it was served warm. At first glance, the bread looked dry, don’t you think?
I ordered the Paidakia which is described as “charbroiled loin of lamb chops marinated with fresh herbs and spices, served with Greek salad, rice pilaf and potatoes”. It was quite good. I wished the lamb chops have more meat because about 1/3 of them are bones. Although I am not much of a salad person, I must say I really enjoyed the Greek salad on the side. $16 for the dish above.
I did not go around taking pictures of the team members’ plates because it was quite impossible to move around.
I think the one above is called Saganaki, pan fried cheese ($9). I wanted to share with you the rusted through plate they served this in and that for some strange reason we all accepted that it was kind of great it was served on this.
After all these days in Paris, I had not climbed the Eiffel. I was at the base of the Eiffel a couple of night before but did not climb it because I was so dead tired. This time, I timed myself to start the climb before sun sets.
There are three platforms on the Tower. The first two floors can be reached by stairs or by lifts. Taking the elevator to the 2nd floor costs 7.80 Euros while stairs costs 4.00 Euros with double the fun.
Climbing up Eiffel is not easy. There are signs on the tower’s trivia after couple of landing. It was interesting reading and also a good chance to catch a breather.
The first floor has the largest platform. There is quite a few displays and exhibitions of past and recent history here. There is also a post office on this level. Weird … is there a story behind this post office?
The view from the second floor towards the Champs de Mars Park looked so beautiful. As much as I wanted to walk all the way to the end to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower from that end, I balked at walking all the way to the end. It must have been at least 3/4 of a mile end to end.
This is the view to the top from the 2nd floor. The public can only get to the top through the elevator. I saw there there is a spiral staircase one can take to the top.
The ride from the 2nd floor to the top costs about 3.70 euros, I think.
There are two levels of platform at the top. The bottom platform is entirely indoor. It was pretty crowded.
And then it started to rain … shucks … I can’t take any decent shot from here. Anyway, you can’t get much of a shot out a window.
I went up to the top platform which is open air. Saw a faint rainbow. That little rainbow got a lot of people excited and were jostling to take a picture of it.
It’s kind of hard locating the Paris replica of the Statue of Liberty below. The replica is presented as a gift from the Americans as appreciation for the Status of Liberty given by the French to New York. BTW, did you know that the engineer that built the Statue of Liberty in New York is also Gustave Eiffel?
It was very cold up the tower. The rain came down in hail. Freezing!
The view from the top is beautiful especially at night.
Another night shot from the top platform …
After the trip to Eiffel, I took the Metro to Little Athens, or at least I think that was the place I went to. The train is a double decker.
I went to this Gyros place for dinner — it’s (relatively) cheap and has two big juicy gyros on the rotisserie. To me the Greek Gyros is similar to the Turkish Doner and the Arabic Sharwarma — same thing but just different name.
This place is like a fast food of sorts — just a little more disorderly.
I had “the works” because I wanted to have a bit of everything. This costs 6.50 Euros. Frankly, this does not taste great but does look very good no doubt. There was not much of meat in there.
The pita is very disappointing … it was hard, dry and tastes like a piece of cardboard.
On the way back to the hotel, I stopped by an Indian restaurant to get myself a piece of chicken. I bought this tandoori chicken for just 3 euros. I missed having big chunky meat the past few days. It was pretty good.
The man at the counter asked me where I was from. When I told him that I was from Canada, I could detect a disappointment in his face … well, I don’t blame him … my Asian face does not look anything like a typical Canadian. He said he likes Canada and tried to speak to me in French … well, although French is a national language in Canada, people in the western part of the country do not use it. Anyway, he gave me a piece of … something … he said a gift from France to Canada. I took it … it was good. What is it anyway?
This is my last post on Paris. From tomorrow I’ll start my way to Brussels — there will be lots of food blog in Brussels.