Belgian Fries on Commercial Drive at 3rd, Vancouver

After dropping the boys off for yet another of their top secret training, Suanne and I decided to go to Commercial Drive. We hardly ever go to Commercial Drive at all. Not sure why though, especially knowing that there are a lot of good eating places here.


While checking out the restaurants along Commercial Drive, we came across Belgian Fries. I remember reading a well researched Foodospohy’s review just a few days earlier. Although the review came out negative from Foodosopher, we went nevertheless. We are not picky eaters and we can’t imagine how bad french fries could get.

I remember reading a lot of other reviews of Belgian Fries and each of them talks about having Poutine. I thought it was kind of funny, odd too, that the Quebec version of french fries is the thing to have in a place called Belgian Fries. On the awning in front, just beside their Belgian Fries banner is the tagline that says “CBC Montreal: Best Poutine in BC”. Perhaps they should name this place the Montreal Poutine or something like that … No? Yes? No?

Anyway, Belgian Fries is located on Commercial Drive at East 3rd Ave.


The interior is bright and spacious. The music is loud. It is definitely a youngster hangout. We felt old in there. We could smell the deep frying from the edge of the restaurant where we park ourselves. One thing that irks me is that the floor is so sticky like they had never mopped this for ages.

They used to be half the size you see in the picture above. I am not sure when they had expanded but looking at this old picture of Belgian Fries, you can just imagine that business must have been very good.

To order, you pay at the counter and they will give you a number. They will call your number once it is ready. This means that they make the fries only on order — which is good.


We got the Montreal Smoked Beef Poutine to share. The large one costs $8.50.

It sure looked unhealthy and I mean very, very unhealthy. It also looked very delicious and I mean very, very mouth watering.

We had a way to eat this. You really need a strategy because it could get very messy. We started off by … (more…)

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Damien’s Real Belgian Waffles in Steveston Village, Richmond

Just last week, I blogged about our breakfast at the Cafe Medina. One of the more popular items at Cafe Medina is their Belgian waffles which is not surprising given that it is a Belgian owned restaurant. In that blog post, Jonnek responded in a comment informing us that there is a Belgian waffle place in Steveston. That reminded us of the post we read just weeks ago from Yum-O-Rama of that same place.

What we learned about this unassuming place was surprising. Read on …


It is called Damien’s Real Belgian Waffles. It is located in the picturesque Steveston Village in Richmond. More precisely, it is on Chatham and No 1 Road, just slightly to the west of No 1 Road.

The sign outside is so small that you can’t pick up the name Damien written on the logo of a boy holding a waffle. We learned later that the name and the logo does not matter as much. It is the words “Real Belgian Waffle” that is more important.


Since it was just a short drive from our home and I was not working on Friday, we decided to go to Damien’s for breakfast after our boys went to school. Damien opens at 9AM and so we went close to their opening time so that we can get freshly made waffles.

It was a bright spacious place with a few tables scattered in a smallish eating area. We could see way to the back where Philippe and Miho Leroux were working. Damien’s does not look like they have lots of customers coming for breakfast here. As a matter of fact, we were the only customers.

With no walkin customers other than us, we were kind of surprised to see them making hundreds of waffles.


Their offerings are mainly waffles. Anyway we were there for the waffles only.

I opted for the Breakfast Waffle combo. For $5, I get to choose one waffle from a selection which includes … (more…)

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Cafe Medina on Beatty Street, Vancouver

Updated: 20th Nov 2014; Cafe Medina had moved to Richards St., Vancouver.

Life is good — especially not having to work on Fridays.

So, after the boys went to school, Suanne and I went to have a real nice breakfast. I just love those unhurried mornings. It is unhurried because it felt like a bonus day off and I had nothing specifically I need to do.


The Medina Cafe is located just next door to the Belgian restaurant, Chambar (our previous reviews here and here). The address is 556 Beatty Street and is just outside from the Stadium Skytrain Station.

Look at the stacks of food by the window (above). That is what Medina Cafe is known for … Belgian Waffles.


Suanne and I went to the Medina Cafe. We had been wanting to go there for a long time but could not because … well … it is not exactly a conducive place for a family breakfast. I don’t know, I felt it has a Parisian Cafe feel to it.

The Medina Cafe is super busy. They will only take reservations for parties of six or more. So if you are in a smaller party of six, you could be in for a wait during mid mornings on weekends. I have heard that waits could be up to 1 hr.

We did not have to wait. We were early. Moreover, it was on a Friday. But we got a really crappy table. It was the only one clean and it was by the door. So, each time someone walks through the door, the freezing draft hit us directly. We had our coat on the whole time.


Suanne had coffee — the largest 16oz Latte which is $3.60. The latte was … well just latte. I had always wanted to learn how to do that fern thingy.


I tried to be fancy right?  So without knowing what it really is, I ordered the Moroccan Mimosa.

The menu said that it is “Fresh OJ infused with cinnamon and fig”. No mention of alcohol.

Mimosa as I learned later is a mix of orange juice and champagne. Not nice. I did not like it. I just felt that liquor and orange juice is not a good mix. But I finished it nevertheless. The reason is simply because this is $8.


The Medina Cafe serves breakfast and lunch only. Breakfasts starts at 9AM to Noon while lunch is from Noon to 3PM (4PM on weekends).

The menu is not very big. Two columns … one for breakfast and one for lunch. That’s it. But each item is interesting and so it was hard to choose.

Service wise, not good. They are busy and you need to flag them down if you wanted anything extra. But when you got their attention, its OK.


As simple and humble the Belgian Waffle is, this is the hero of our breakfast. This is what we were here for. It is $3.15 for the waffle and an extra $1 for the fig orange marmalade.

But the waffle is so … (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Chambar

I had been to Chambar twice before with the last time during last year’s Dine Out Vancouver. However, this year, I decided to go there again because Suanne had never been there before and wanted to try their famous mussels.


Chambar is a Belgian restaurant located on Beatty St just outside that Stadium Skytrain station in Vancouver. Our reservation was for 5PM. By the time we arrived 5 minutes before, many had arrived earlier and waited at the lounge. We can see that Chambar is perhaps one of the most popular DOV venue.


We got seated in the inner dinner hall which I preferred because it is wider and had a big window (not that there is a view from it anyway). One thing you will notice about Chambar is that the walls are decorated with art pieces which they help local artists showcase their work.

Just a couple of tables away was a group three Asian diners who also whipped out cameras and took pictures of their food. For a moment, we were wondering if they are one of food bloggers we know. We tried to establish eye-contact but failed. I thought it will be great to say hi to bloggers.

Oh, we were also told that we had only 1.5 hours for DOV. We understand the reason why.


Since this is a Belgian restaurant, I chose a Belgian beer. They had a good selection Trappistes beer which is renowned to be “all one needs” and are known to be brewed in monasteries by monks. I got myself the Rochefort 8 which is 9.2% alcohol. Small bottle but packs quite a punch.


For the appetizer, we had the La Salad d’Hiver. This is a Belgium endive and watercress salad with cranberry and vanilla vinaigrette. (more…)

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Brussels Series: Dinner at the Plattesteen

One of the form of transportation within Brussels is thru what is known as the Premetro. It is narrow tram operating in an underground railway track. I find it so odd, the shape of the tram — it does not look like a good design for maximizing passenger load. It does actually feel like getting on a narrow bus that runs on underground tracks.


Anyway, I was looking forward to trying a Belgian food called “stoemp avec saucissen”. The guidebook recommended a family restaurant called the Platessen and that serves old-fashioned Belgian food like the way they make it at home.

This family restaurant happens to lie in the middle of the gay neighborhood (“not that there is anything wrong with that”). I was determined to try stoemp that I went anyway. Oh yeah, there are a lot of guys on the streets and I kept my eyes to the pavement most of the time. I was afraid of the accidental eye contact … “not that there is anything wrong with that”.


I don’t know if I made a mistake coming in here. Hmmm … I saw two burly man kissing each other in the lips (“not that there is anything wrong with that”). Also, right across from my table was another guy eating alone. I swear he was watching me. :-0

I looked around the restaurant for the tell-tale rainbow flag. Nope, none around.

Oh, guess what … the waiter told me that they don’t serve Stoemp that night. Shoot! Since it was quite late already and I had no Plan B for dinner, I decided to stay on.

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Brussels Series: Manneken Pis, Snails and Amaretto

Sometimes one can know the character of a city just by observing the people going about doing their business. I can relate to a city like Brussels. This city is well maintain, clean, graffiti free and have very little vagrants. The subway felt bright and safe.

I stumbled on the Parc du Bruxelles while trying to look for the Unknown Soldier Panorama. I must have made a wrong turn somewhere and came upon this place. I enjoyed this park. In a cold early spring weather, there are quite a lot of people running during their lunch break. It reminds me a lot of Vancouver where when the weather is good, people do don their running gears and go for a run.


In every European city, there is a cathedral at the center of the city. Brussel’s cathedral is called the St Michael and Gudula Cathedral. I had seen enough of churches already and gave this a miss.


Brussels is a compact city. I came across the Manneken Pis again. Since there are better light this time, I took out my long lens and managed to get a closer shot of the famous sculpture. Sometimes they do dress up the Manneken Pis in costumes but not this time.

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Brussels Series: Breakfast at the Grand Place

Woke up extra early today. I think I have adjusted to the time zone and all the walking the past one week. I must have walked at least 10 kilometers every day since I started from London. Also, I have stopped noticing how heavy my backpack had been. Oh … I am beginning to feel homesick!

I thought I start off the day in the Grand Place and have a look at it under dry weather. I was pretty sure there are some places that I can have breakfast around the area.


I found this place just off the Grand Place for breakfast. What do Belgians normally have for breakfast? My impression is that Belgian breakfasts consists of waffle. Oh well … waffles sounds OK for me.

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Brussels Series: Mussels and Frites at Chez Leon

After the Waffle snack (or should I call it a meal?), I went walking about the sidestreets back to my hotel. I am liking Brussels more and more. Oh yeah, it drizzled the afternoon I was there but this is nothing to me because Vancouver at this time of the year rains like there’s no tomorrow anymore. Talking about rain, did you know what the record for continuous days of rain in Vancouver is? 28 days! Oh yeah … 28 days. So, this is like a sunny day to me. 🙂

Let’s see … ah … Belgium is famous for it laces. I don’t care much for laces but they look very nice. I bet Suanne would love to have one of the nice lacy blouses. Know how much they cost? 150 Euros! Gosh! BTW, one need to be careful these days buying these lacey products … many of them are manufactured in China … caveat emptor.


Of course, the other famous product from Belgian is, what else, Belgian Chocolates. There are so many chocolate stores here. Some of the names I could recognize were Guylian, Godiva, and Neuhaus but they are so many others. Most of the chocs are so expensive … and some are so pretty that I will not be able to force myself to eat them.


There are also Chocolate Truffles. That little box costs about 9 Euros … $12USD / $14CAD.


Like the Latin Quarter in Paris, there is a street that has a huge concentration of restaurants. I just bumped into this place and oh yeah, perfect … this is where I am gonna have my dinner. Each of them have sign boards that describes their fix price menu. If you end up ordering what is on the board, you’ll be OK. Once inside, they have a “better” menu which could cost a lot more. (more…)

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Brussels Series: Belgian Waffle at the Grand Place

I hardly spent a few minutes in the hotel room. The sky is getting dark and I wanted to at least spend sometime getting to the centre of Brussels. So, I dropped my bags, had a quick clean-up and headed out immediately. I am so glad for this room because compared to the dump in Paris this is much comfortable. I got a good deal from Orbitz which is only USD$60 per night.


The Brussels downtown core is so compact. You could walk to most places of interest. I read a lot about the Grand Place which is a central market square. This is the most visited tourist site in Brussels. The square is surrounded on all sides by grand buildings. The Gothic style City Hall, below, is 600 years old.


UNESCO had declared the Grand Place as a World Heritage Site.


The City Museum, located right across from the City Hall, is dedicate to the history of Brussels. There is a room that contains all the costume of the Manneken Pis.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2007 – Chambar Restaurant

I brought my local Vancouver project team for a little celebration for meeting a critical phase of project deadline. Those guys and gals had been working lots of overtime and weekends and had a major delivery completed on schedule. They all truly deserved a break, a time to sit back and celebrate a job well done.

So, to celebrate we went to the Chambar Restaurant. Chambar is a popular Belgian restaurant located on Beatty St in Vancouver. Unless you already know Chambar, a lot of people don’t even know it exists. From the outside you would easily miss this place because the restaurant does not stand out at all.


We ordered from their Dine Out Vancouver menu. It is $25 … and is a much more better deal food wise than some of the $35 ones I tried earlier. Some had the “La Salade” … the La Salade de Cresson – Watercress & endive salad, red wine poached pear, candied pecans, shallot crisps, gorgonzola dressing.


For me, I had the “la prawns” … Crevettes de safran – Saffron marinated prawns, peashoot & soba noodle salad. Spiced raita. Nice large prawns.

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