Breakfast at California Cafe, Lansdowne Mall in Richmond

Updated: 4th July 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Alright, quick … tell me … if you are looking for breakfast at 7AM in the morning in and around Richmond, where would you go?

I can only think of #9 and Kam Do.  OK, maybe also Lido but McDonalds and Tim Hortons does not count for me.  We so wish that there are Dim Sum places that opens at that time.

California-Cafe-10-400x600

Driving around looking for breakfast two weeks ago, we found out that California Cafe on Lansdowne Mall actually opens at 7AM.  We had rarely been to California Cafe but had blogged about that place once before.  That was because it used to be closed by the health authorities for some reason I cannot recall.

Have you ever stopped going to a restaurant once you learn that they had been closed by the health authorities … even though they had cleaned up their act and was allowed to re-opened?  For no rhyme or reason, we “sometimes” do.  It depends on how popular the place is to us.  LOL!   For California Cafe, we stopped going.

But we decided to go back in and give them a try again.  We were letting bygones be bygones … simply because there were no better choices for breakfast.

California-Cafe-13-400x600

The California Cafe is another of many HK Style Cafes peppered all over Richmond.  The interior is the same as I remembered it except that the grand piano is no longer there.  I had always thought that the interior is kind of stylish with a main raised platform area.  Beyond the structural design, the place is still quite haphazardly organized, very much like many Chinese restaurants.

We were there at 7:30AM.  Suanne was still fuming that I dragged everyone out for breakfast so early during the weekend.  She just wanted to sleep in but me, my biological clock is tuned to Atlanta and London time for months already.  So, for me waking up at 6:30AM is like waking up at 9:30AM for Richmondites.  Actually Suanne has a choice.  She either could wake up at 6:30AM to make breakfast or she could wake up at 6:30AM and go out for breakfast.  Being a sensible person she is, she chosed the latter.

BTW, just so that you know, I don’t even know where to get the toast spread in the kitchen at home and also do not know how to operate the coffee machine too.  I really am not domesticated for these tasks at home.  LOL!

On a more serious note, I really think there is a dearth of early breakfast joints in Richmond.  Even at 7:30AM, California is already filled with customers.

California-Cafe-1-600x400

They have very good Pineapple Bun here.  In Cantonese, they are more cutely referred to a Bolo Bun.  Seeing other tables having this we ordered one to sample.  You got to know this … how good a Bolo Bun is is sometimes used as a yardstick to determine how good the restaurant is.  Serious, I am not kidding.

Their Pineapple Bun costs $1.10.  It is denser than the ones in Lido which makes the best Pineapple Buns this side of the planet.  We like softer fluffier ones but we decided to give them the thumbs up because it tastes really good, particularly the crusty buttery topping.

California-Cafe-11-400x600

California Cafe has a large menu which lists all kinds of combination that it is so confusing.  We had this combination that is called Mix-n-Match which allows you to select two meat items for just  $7.  Along with this too includes two eggs, a bun and a beverage of your choice.

If you like meat, this will delight you.  I selected Seared Chicken Leg and Seared Pork Chop.  The chops are at least 4″ by 4″ each.  I wonder how they make money by selling this for $7.

California-Cafe-6-600x400

I love their buns.  I had the eggs made sunny side up because I could use the yolk as a spread on top of the butter.  Nice. (more…)

Continue Reading Breakfast at California Cafe, Lansdowne Mall in Richmond

Boston Steakhouse on Alexandra and Hazelbridge, Richmond

Update 18-May-2010: This restaurant had closed.

Sometimes I don’t even know how to explain this.

At times, Suanne and I do not balk at spending $100 for a dinner for two.  But for some reason, we can never bring ourselves to spending half that much in a Richmond restaurant.  I don’t know why.

We passed by Boston Steakhouse virtually once a week but we had never wanted to visit that place.  It was because we thought it would be overly expensive.  That was until Wendy and Boyfriend went and blogged about it.

boston-steakhouse-38-600x400

The Boston Steakhouse is located right at the intersection of Alexandra Rd and Hazelbridge Way.  Parking is quite limited here because most of the parking spots are marked reserved for the neighboring businesses.  There was this guy at the carpark who signaled to us to just park anywhere.  Even though it was on a Saturday evening where all business were closed, we did not want to chance it and waited for an empty spot to come free.

boston-steakhouse-30-600x400

Boston Steakhouse is very much like a Hongkong Style Cafe except that it is a tad more neater and they serve primarily steaks.  The decor was modern but otherwise quite uncoordinated.  Why … they even use plastic table cloth here.

Service wise, we like it better here compared to the other HK Style Cafes.  They came with water very quickly and then proceeded to point to us their specials of the day.  It was written on a chalkboard and all in Chinese.  We said we can’t read and the young waiter translated slowly to us each and every item on the board.  Such patience is something you don’t find in a lot in Richmond restaurants.  LOL!

boston-steakhouse-1-400x600

As in all HK Style Cafes, you get free buns, drinks, soup and sometimes dessert with the main dish.  At the Boston Steakhouse,we were given the typical buns.  These type of sweet and soft buns are called charn bau, or literally translated as dinner buns.  I like that they served this warm because it melts the butter the moment you spread them on.

boston-steakhouse-2-400x600

For drinks, I opted for Yinyong, a delightful cold mixture of Coffee and HK Style Milk Tea.  Boston Steakhouse had a few more variety of drinks.  Suanne selected the Honey Kumquat with Lime.

boston-steakhouse-31-600x400

For the free soup, we had the Borscht soup.  This is HK style Borscht soup where it is more like tomato soup.  It was rich and tastes good.

boston-steakhouse-32-600x400

The other soup they had was the Cream Soup.  It was a bit too runny and quite bland to us even though it had quite a bit of ham pieces in it.

boston-steakhouse-5-400x600

Now … this main is interesting.  Boston Steakhouse calls this Kobe Beef Stone Grill.  For a Kobe Beef this is $29.  I could not believe it is Kobe beef, certainly not at this price.  I had to ask the waiter exactly what kind of a Kobe Beef this is.  I had a chuckle when he said it is the type that is from Kobe, Japan.  Anyway, I just had to try this.  Moreover it came served in a hot stone grill.

The waiter brought it to the table and I was looking at it and for a while did not know what to do.  There was a big slab of beef rolled up and resting on top of some onions rings.  I was not sure if it will just cook like that on the stone grill (don’t laugh OK, I had never tried this before!).

So I swallowed my pride and asked the waiter … what now? (more…)

Continue Reading Boston Steakhouse on Alexandra and Hazelbridge, Richmond

Cattle Cafe on Alexandra Road, Richmond

I was telling Suanne that Vanessa (who we had never met) is like our eating consultant. This time she brought to our attention of a new Hongkong Style Cafe in Richmond.

Come to think about it, we had not come across any new Hongkong Style Cafes for quite a long time. It is like Hongkong Style Cafes out of fashion these days along with Vietnamese Pho and Taiwanese Beef Noodle Houses. Instead there are more and more mainland Chinese restaurants, particularly Shanghainese and Szechuan. I think it is due to the shifting demographics of the Chinese immigrants to Richmond the past few years.

cattlecafe-11-600x400

Cattle Cafe is located on the Alexandra Road in Richmond. Alexandra Road is the “wai sek kai” of Richmond. Concentrated on this block is some of the better restaurants ranging from cheap eats to high class restaurants with chandeliers. The parking on this street is impossible especially during dinner time on weekends.

cattlecafe-2-400x600

Cattle Cafe is new alright. Everything is so sparkling clean and new. The decor is bright with clean lines … certainly a lot better looking than the oldies like Kam Do, Silver Tower, Lido, E-Canteen and such. The place is not too big, perhaps half the size of Kam Do.

It was quite busy when we were there and had to wait for a table. Talking about tables, BOTH our tables were unbalanced and shakey for the good part of the time we were there. For as long as I remember, I had not come across having an unbalanced table, let alone two. I blame it on their relative newness and oversight. No big deal but it was downright annoying when one is having noodle soup.

cattlecafe-10-600x400

You gotta love these type of new places where everything is new. Even the cutleries are shiny.

Service too was very quick and eager — we like that and does feel our patronage was appreciated.

cattlecafe-1

Their menu is where they are different from all the other Hongkong Style Cafes. Instead of huge menu itemizing every single combination possible, Cattle chooses to do it choose-and-mix style.

For instance, their Self-Pick Noodles Combo allows you to assemble your own noodle by selecting a soup base, choice of two toppings, the noodle type and a beverage. You may sort of upgrade for a price. It is not just combo for noodles but also for congee and toasts too. It’s a good way for their customer to have their food the way they need it.

cattlecafe-3-400x600

Suanne is getting smarter these days. You see, there is an unwritten rule that we cannot order the same food … this is because we are bloggers and we want to try as many different ones as possible. She used to end up with the short end of the stick after the boys and I get all the better ones first. Suanne is fast these days … she will “chop” the signature dishes before we even get the chance to say what we wanted.

So Suanne ended up with the Self-Pick Noodle Combo … which is just $7. I think it is a good deal. She had the Szechuan Spice Soup Base. I tried to influence her to get the Laksa Soup Base because I see a lot of other people having that. No deal, she said. For toppings, she had pork intestines and fish puffs. For noodles, she had rice noodles (I thought egg noodles is a better combination). Hot Milk Tea was her choice of beverage.

The bowl was big. Certainly more than enough for one person. The soup base was spicy and flavourful but the best thing is …

(more…)

Continue Reading Cattle Cafe on Alexandra Road, Richmond

Late Night Supper at E-Canteen in Richmond

Updated: 26th Feb 2011: This restaurant has closed and replaced by Enjoy Cafe 1+1.

It was one of those nights.

We are not night time eaters. As a matter of fact, we have our dinners rather early, as early as 5PM everyday. That night we were just hungry at 9PM even though we had the normal meals. At the time of the night the options are somewhat limited as we could think of only three places … Hon’s, #9 Restaurant or E-Canteen.

ecanteen-14

We like E-Canteen. We can’t quite figure out why. Maybe it’s because it is so predictable … getting there is easy without getting tangled in the nightmarish No 3 Road traffic. Or maybe it was because parking is so predictably available despite the relatively small size of the parking lot. Maybe too it is because they make respectable Laksa and has a wide variety of food. But we do like the service … it is not that it is superb but they are responsive and sincere. It is also very family oriented.

ecanteen-1

I know … we also like the free beverages which came with most items on the menu. Sometimes I feel that it is a great idea that every restaurant should come up with a menu which includes drinks for every dish. I mean, build in the price of the standard drinks. I think many people would appreciate it … we would.

ecanteen-10

Guess again … who ordered the Fried Rice. Nanzaro can finish this whole dish by himself. It is Salted Fish Fried Rice … my boys’ favourite. $7. (more…)

Continue Reading Late Night Supper at E-Canteen in Richmond

Happy Date Bakery and Restaurant on Park Road, Richmond

Hey … does anyone of you feel the economic hardship coming your way yet? Until now, I have not heard of anyone I know who had lost their job but me think it’s the calm before the storm. So, we thought we should start looking at spending a bit lesser on dining out.

When we think about budget, no frills meal, we often head off to Happy Date. It just dawned on us that despite being there so many times, we had never gotten down to blog on them.

happydate-1

Happy Date is located on Park Road just off where the Richmond City Hall is. It is a very popular Hongkong Style eatery. Like many HK style cafes, they also have a bakery but I don’t really think highly of their bakery. I much prefer the ones found in The Boss, Kam Do and particularly Lido.

happydate-8

We had always visited Happy Date for breakfast which is always packed with people. This was the first time we were there for dinner. We were kind of surprised that the restaurant is half empty. We expected it to be just as packed as breakfast.

happydate-7

They gave us free soup. They looked like they had been in the pot for weeks. I don’t know what to make of it really. It doesn’t taste bad at all but it’s just that such lotus plus pork soup should be a lot more clearer. The boys did not want to touch it.

happydate-5

You-know-who ordered this. Sigh … I don’t want to talk about it except that it costs $9. (more…)

Continue Reading Happy Date Bakery and Restaurant on Park Road, Richmond

The Boss Bakery and Restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Vancouver’s Chinatown is known as the second largest Chinatowns in North America. Only the one in San Francisco is larger than Vancouver’s. Frankly, it had been on a decline for many years now. We used to go to Chinatown often for food and groceries but no longer. We could get what we wanted and more just about anywhere in Metro Vancouver these days.

thebosschinatown01

Suanne and I decided to take a drive to Chinatown a weekend a few weeks ago. The boys were off doing their air cadet stuff and we had time for our own. We checked out a few places but many of the restaurants really looked very dirty. The one that seems the cleanest is The Boss.

thebosschinatown02

The Boss Bakery and Restaurant is located at the 500 block of Main St. I believe they are the same restaurant as The Boss in Metrotown which I used to blog here. (BTW, the one in Metrotown was closed the last time I pass by a couple of weeks ago … am not sure if they are undergoing renovation).

thebosschinatown04

Don’t be deceived by the picture I took above. It’s just that the angle shows a quite classy restaurant. It is not! It is by no means dirty but rather quite clean for a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown.

thebosschinatown004

They gave a huge menu which they place under a glass top — just like they do in the Metrotown restaurant. I know it’s kind of corny but it’s practical if you ask me. I get seated and there is the menu right in front of me … no need to wait for the server to bring along one.

thebosschinatown001

However, they have a very limited menu for breakfast and I mean very limited. They only have the breakfast menu you see above and congee.

thebosschinatown003

I had the congee which was quite good and has in it three types of meatballs, fish, shrimp and beef. (more…)

Continue Reading The Boss Bakery and Restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown

7th Heaven in Richmond’s Aberdeen Center

Updated: 30th May 2011: This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

I can’t recall which one but there is a Vancouver Food blog that did a review of the 7th Heaven Cafe in Richmond not too long ago. If it was not for that blog (which gave a rather good review), I would not have know it is there.

7thheaven01

The 7th Heaven Cafe is basically a HK-Style Cafe. It is located on the first floor of the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond. It is really tucked behind the Northern Delicacy restaurant and one would not know of its existence if not for a banner they put up.

It is definitely a much more cleaner place than most HK-Style Cafe. They apparently allow the rental of the entire place for events during certain days of the week for a minimum charge of $2000 or $3000 … something like that. Our boys like this place simply because they have free wifi here.

7thheaven07

Food wise, their menu shows a wide variety. Their Laksa (which they spelt as Larsar on their menu) looked pretty but does not even have a kick to it. They even have sweet corns in it. It looks like Laksa but does not in any way tastes like one. This one is $7.50.

7thheaven02

We also order the Curry Lamb. From the looks of it, we knew that it is more of a “curry cream” and devoid of spices — indeed it was. (more…)

Continue Reading 7th Heaven in Richmond’s Aberdeen Center

Angel Cake House in Vancouver

Last Saturday morning, we had to go downtown to pickup the Vancouver Sun Run package. So, we decided that we should just go out for breakfast for a change … and to Vancouver, for a change too. I know, we had been eating out a lot within Richmond.

So, we ended up at Fraser and E 44th. Suanne and I had stumbled upon the the Angel Cake House once before and so this is our second visit.

IMG_5374

You can’t really find many other places that can beat the Angel Cake House for value. Here, you can get a hearty Chinese breakfast for under $5 with drinks included. Parking is quite plentiful along the street but it was early morning when we were there when traffic is light … especially for a Saturday morning.

IMG_5365

Suanne opted for the so-called “Western Breakfast” selection. For $4.95, you could select 2 items from the section. For the first item, Suanne had the French Toast and Shrimp and Mushroom Omelette. The French Toast were two thick sandwiches with Kaya (coconut jam) in between.

The omelette had a generous helping of shrimps. The mushrooms complimented the shrimps well … absolutely great with soya sauce. The only problem with soya sauce is that it is horrendous for the French Toast — we have to be extra careful not to “contaminate” the toast.

That above is considered ONE item …

IMG_5364

For the SECOND item, Suanne chose the vermicelli in soup with shredded pork and some pickled thingy. (more…)

Continue Reading Angel Cake House in Vancouver

Kingspark Steak House in Richmond

Even though we knew of this Kingspark Steak House, we had never ventured into it before. We had been to many of the restaurants in the strip mall across the road from the Richmond Public Market but not this one.

IMG_3677

It was the name that prevented us from visiting this place earlier. We thought it was a steak house, like a Chinese version of Kegs or something. But far from it, it was a Hongkong Style Cafe more than it is a steak house. This place is much bigger than most HK Style Cafes around town. Despite its size, it was actually packed and one had to wait a bit for a table.

IMG_3667

As in most HK Style Cafes, there is the free choice of beverage which comes with each order of entrees. They came in metal mugs. Unique, I must say.

Be prepared though for very slow service. The waiters and waitresses were so swamped that they actually go about with their heads down and avoid eye contact, lest you get their attention!! You really need to call out to them.

We ordered four items from their menu which were numbered. Guess what, despite ordering it by the number, they got THREE of our orders wrong. Gosh, we had never had this sort of things happening to us before. When the first dish came, we accepted it but when they brought us the other two also wrong, we refused to accept them.

Frankly, what annoys us was not over the wrong orders but that the bad attitude of the waiter who blamed us for the mess. He insists that we take the order but seeing his attitude, we refused to speak to him any further. After that, he did not come around to our table. *shrugs*

IMG_3676

Nanzaro ordered Beef and Shrimp Paste Stir Fried Rice Noodles for $5.95. (more…)

Continue Reading Kingspark Steak House in Richmond

Office Lunches: The Boss Restaurant in Metrotown

Fridays had always been a good time to go out for lunch for some reason. Two Fridays ago, I went out for lunch with my friends from my old workplace. I am glad that even after having left the company for more than 2 years now, I am still remembered.

IMG_3972

Since, I am eating out, Suanne just packed grapes and a handful of prawn cracker for me. I still need my snacks.

IMG_3973

The Boss Restaurant is located inside the Metrotown mall. It is located near Zellers in case you want to know where exactly it is in the large mall. The Boss is basically a HK-Style restaurant and is almost always busy.

Wait times could be very lengthy during lunch time and more so since it is a Friday afternoon. We had a total of 12 people and since I was the nearest to the restaurant, I went there earlier to book a table. The wait was 30 minutes which was not too bad.

IMG_3975

We had to split up to two separate tables since it is quite next to impossible to get so many people seated together seeing how busy it was that day. We talked about table setting and that Asians tables normally have a spoon and a fork while for other Canadian restaurants, it is common to have only fork and knife.

Even after so many years in Canada, I still prefer just spoon and fork as it is more practical when it come to rice. I can use a fork for rice but it feels odd to me. Asians normally eat with the spoon and uses the fork to help scoop food onto the spoon.

IMG_3980

On our table we had six people and decided to just order four different dishes to share. The chow mein was served on a hot pan (more…)

Continue Reading Office Lunches: The Boss Restaurant in Metrotown