Weekend Buffet at Kedah House on SE Marine Drive, Vancouver

Updated 24 Aug 2013; the buffet is now $12.40 and payment in cash only.

Man … were we surprised, pleasantly surprised!

I was just checking our old posting on Kedah House and found that the last time we were there was three years ago, almost to the day.  I drive past Kedah House to and from work everyday and yet we had not eaten there for that long.

As always, Arkensen and Nanzaro wanted pho or sushi for lunch.  The boys can just live of those stuff everyday — together with instant noodles.  Suanne and I overruled that choice.  Suanne does not like raw sushi at all.  We finally settled for Malaysian instead.

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We were going to drive all the way to Seri Malaysia in the far reaches of Vancouver until we remembered Kedah House.  For some reason we did not have a good impression of Kedah House’s food.  Perhaps that’s why we had not made an attempt to visit them after all these years.

Kedah House is located on SE Marine Drive (Vancouver) in a little strip mall just east of the Knight St Bridge.  Many years ago they used to operate on Fraser Street until they moved here.

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This is what changed our perception of Kedah House.  They have a $10 buffet lunch on weekends.  [Note: Malaysians normally call all-you-can-eat as buffets].

The decor is really basic with lots of misplaced Tourism Malaysia posters all over wall.  As far as I remembered, it is much better than we visited this place 3 years ago.  It is cleaner and brighter.

The buffet spread is placed along the wall on two sections of a long table.  There was not a lot of varieties but more than enough for a good hearty lunch.  Despite that, the quality is pretty awesome for a buffet.

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We were kind of surprised how busy this restaurant was on a weekend.  We got seated at a strategic location … just next to the buffet table!  It does make it easier for repeat trips.  Not sure about you, but I like many return trips to the buffet table for a “focused” selection of food rather than piling up the plate with all kinds of grub.

It is very Malaysian (or rather I should say “very Malay”) the way water are served in a plastic pitcher.  He he he … they even serve it in a very Malaysian type of glass too.  These kind of glasses are very common in Malaysian coffee shops, like 99.999% of the shops uses glasses of this design.

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I will consider this as the “salad/appetizer”.  It is not really an appetizer as Malay cuisine does not really have the concept of appetizer (well, unless you count munching on dates is considered as an appetizer).  This is called Gado-Gado.  Oh boy … this is soooo authentic that reminded me of the comfort food I grew up with.

The best part of the Gado Gado is the peanut sauce.  They were marvelous and served warm too.  I drenched the entire salad with the peanut sauce.  I like the fact that they keep on refilling the peanut sauce so that they remain so deliciously freshly made on the buffet table.  This is perhaps the best Gado Gado on this part of the planet.

All the usual ingredients were there … cucumber, ketupat, turnip, dried tofu, rice cake and hard boiled egg.  Oh, talking about hard boiled egg, my mum (as in ALL mums in Malaysia) forbade me to eat overnight hard boiled eggs when I was young — I emphasize the word overnight.  It was OK for girls to eat overnight hard boiled eggs but not for boys.  Can anyone share with everyone why?

I had the cold hard boiled eggs.  I don’t care if anyone stare at my pants.  LOL!

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Nasi Minyak is literally translated to as Oily Rice.  It was really fragrant.  We can pick up the smell from afar.  The fragrance is from the spices used, primarily star anise and curry leaves.  For once, forget the name but they are really delicious by itself.

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This is a salad … freshly made from cucumber, pineapple, onions and chilli for that extra heat.  Although we were told that this is sometimes taken by itself, the waitress recommended that we do it like this … (more…)

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Circa Restaurant and Lounge on Granville, Vancouver

Updated 11th Oct 2010: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.

Update 20-May-2009: Click HERE for our full review of Circa Resto Lounge.

Suanne and I were invited to a restaurant launch a week ago.  We enjoy going for these sort of events because we get to learn a lot.  Also, it gives the excuse to check out the restaurant scene in downtown.

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North Granville.  This area had seen better days.  This was the happening street over 50 years ago and is actually world famous for its neon lights.  Granville Street was indeed the Entertainment District of Vancouver.  Less than 20 years ago, the street began a spiral of decay and deterioration.  Gone were the famous theatres and in its place sprouted porn shops, peep shows, pawn shops and what nots.  Before long people began to shun the street and converged on Robson.

When Vancouver won the rights to host the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the area began a series of rejuvenation and gentrification.  The city embarked on a program to bring this street back to its former glory.  Last week, when Suanne and I walked down the street, we felt safe.  We can see that all the efforts of the City Hall is coming to fruition.

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Circa Restaurant and Lounge is one of those businesses who are spearheading the gentrification of Granville Street north.  They were opened only to media on the first day.  He he he … Suanne and I really enjoyed it so much playing media.

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We were met by Colette who brought us around the place.  We were quite impressed with the way the place had been setup.  They certainly had very clever ideas and has a corner or table for every sort of events.

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We were particularly impressed with the private room — it was so simplistic and yet so elegant.  I was thinking that if I want to impress and entertain (business or otherwise), this private room would quite fit the bill.

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From the outside, you won’t guess how big this place really is.  It has almost 200 seats in this area with over 50 seats on the upstairs area.  There are two bars (one for the upstairs).

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Talking about bar, the event was sponsored by Absolut.  Too bad I am not too much of a drinker.  Being Asian (and I think I can speak on behalf of most Asian), I am somewhat intolerant to alcohol.  One glass, I am all flushed … two glasses, I talk nonsense … three glasses, I will break out in rashes which will last a week!

I had something I thought would be OK for me.  After all, it had Lychee Puree as it’s main ingredient.

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There is the Chambord (or at least I think that’s what it is).

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So … Absolut, SoHo, Chambord, Lychee Puree = Southeast Star.  Small glass but certainly too much alcohol for me!  My face were all red.  Suanne had raspberry juice instead.  She couldn’t stop looking at my face and remarking like every 2 minutes how flushed I was.

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Circa served Amuse Bouche together with the drinks.  They were all very good.  The tuna had a crispy base, sauteed fennel with red peppers and tomatoes.

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Il Nido on Thurlow and Robson, Vancouver

Weekend is getting more precious to me these days. Work had been building up with just a few months away from delivery. Lots of loose end to tie up and the team is beginning to feel the pressure. So work had been rather intense and I really look towards the weekends more than ever.

To unwind, Suanne and I decided to go downtown for dinner on Friday. I enjoy those time outs with Suanne — just she and I — and put work behind in the right way. We decided to check out Il Nido because we just got an email saying that they had just launched a new spring menu.

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Il Nido is an Italian restaurant located in a quiet corner of Robson and Thurlow. The location is just perfect for Suanne and I as we wanted to have a quiet dinner away from the bustle of Robson and yet after dinner, we could go walk along Robson to soak in the excitement the street has to offer.

It seems like Il Nido is one of the oldest restaurants on Robson having been around for more than 20 years. It has the charm to this place compared to the many newer establishments around the Robson area.

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Not knowing how busy Il Nido is, we had reservations made. When we arrived, they did not seem to have our reservation but I guess it was really not required at all. We were the only people there when they opened for dinner at 5:30PM.

Il Nido has a cozy atmosphere with simple decors. I do noticed that on every table is a bottle of wine. How does that work … does anyone know? Suanne and I had not had an entire bottle of wine for dinner before. Does a table of two normally finish off an entire bottle? What happens if it is half-finished?

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We ordered Bellini for drinks instead since Bellini is a very Italian cocktail. Most of their cocktails is about $6 but the Bellini is $12. When I ordered this, they told me they serve the “real” Bellini, not like those popular frozen Bellinis you normally get at places like Cactus Club (I always had Bellinis at Cactus Club!). We were quite surprised that it came in just half a glass. It was crisp and comparatively light in alcohol which is just how we like our drinks.

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What we like a lot about western dining is the bread. Suanne and I always look forward to the bread they serve and uses that as a yardstick of sorts of the restaurant. We appreciate it a lot if they make the bread themselves.

Il Nido’s serves homemade Italian bread and told us that they made them fresh. It is dense and on the dry’ish side. Like the ones we had at the Brix, they also serve this with multiple dips — olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt.

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We asked a dumb question to the waitress … how does one normally take the dip? Dip one at a time, a sequence (olive first then balsamic vinegar) or what? Dumb question begats dumb answers … she told us she does it all three at a time.

We like it a lot and asked for more bread. Suanne ALWAYS dunk a lot of these sort of things and soaks everything up — and she wants ME to ask for more.

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Il Nido’s menu is simple and limited to a couple of pages. We thought it might be a good idea to opt for the “Let the chef make your 3 course meal tonight”. We asked if the meal will just be an item on the menu or if they will make sometime outside of the menu. The waiter told us it will be something outside of the menu.

So we settled for an order of the $45 “Let the chef make your 3 course meal tonight” and a separate order of mains … to share.

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Expecting to be surprised, I was not very impressed with “secondi” salmon to tell the truth. I mean, how Italian is salmon anyway? It is more west coast fare than Italian. LOL! (more…)

Continue ReadingIl Nido on Thurlow and Robson, Vancouver

King’s Chinese Cuisine on Main and 29th, Vancouver

It was one of those weekend mornings again. Suanne had a subtle way of hinting that she does not want to prepare breakfast but not wanting to say so. I don’t know how to describe it but I can pick up the vibes — unmistakably.

I did not know where to go and the boys keep asking me what’s for breakfast. When I don’t want to answer, I just tell them “it’s a secret”. It used to work because they like surprise … not any longer. They now follow up with another question … “where are we going?”. They hate it when I drive across the bridge because it meant a 30 minutes drive, at least.

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I did cross the Knight St Bridge and headed up Main Street in Vancouver. Then at East 29th, I saw a queue outside of the orangey restaurant. It is definitely a dim sum place … and a cheap one too. I can tell because many of the customers are seniors or with large families.

I thought we will not go wrong eating here since there was a queue even though the walls outside was all defaced with graffiti.

This place is called King’s Chinese Cuisine and is located on the intersection of 29th and Main.

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The wait was not too long, about 15 minutes. We had to walk right into the back of the restaurant to deposit our name for a table. It is a large place and so they are able to turn the tables very fast. It is also a mad house … the hustle and bustle here is very typical of a neighborhood Chinese Dim Sum place. It’s noisy and obviously very popular.

This is a place where they use plastic sheets for table cloth. With these, cleaning up a table for the next customer is just a matter of seconds. Pull up a layer, tie it up in a bundle with all the left over food and bowls and the table is all ready. Function over form is how I describe it.

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Even before we got seated, we were already asked what tea we wanted. I have no idea and I always kept my head down and pretend not to hear … I always left it to Suanne to decide. She had no idea herself too. So she always blurts out a name that comes to her mind. This time it was Tiet Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy). One of these days, we got to learn the finer points of Chinese tea.

They also passed us the order sheet. This is not just an order sheet but also double up as a receipt! The prices were printed at the top of the order sheet. So, for $2.30 to $4.75, they are cheap.

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I see a lot of tables ordering the Fried Rice Noodles. It must be their specialty and they looked good too. You can tell when you see parts of it charred … meaning that they have “wok hei” when they did this.

Kind of hard to explain what “wok hei” means — anyone wants to give that a try?

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The Fried Rice Noodle was good on it’s own. But the sweet sauce imparts a lot of flavour to it. Their sweet sauce is done perfectly … not too thick and not too light … just perfect. No wonder so many people ordered this. This is categorized as a “special” dish and costs $4.75.

They serve their Gai Lan kind of dry. Normally in other places it is drizzled with oyster sauce but here they serve the oyster sauce in a small saucer on the side. The stems are big and tastes a little bitter’ish. It was a lot of it. Since the boys did not want to have anything to do with green food, Suanne and I had a tough time finishing it all. $4.75.

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They serve their Gai Lan kind of dry. Normally in other places it is drizzled with oyster sauce but here they serve the oyster sauce in a small saucer on the side. The stems are big and tastes a little bitter’ish. It was a lot of it. Since the boys did not want to have anything to do with green food, Suanne and I had a tough time finishing it all. $4.75.

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We like this next one. It is simply called Jelly Fish. However, it is more than just jelly fish. It is topped with bean curd roll filled with mushroom, pickled daikon and carrot. You can imagine the variation of texture in this dish (soft jelly fish with crunchy daikon).

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The light vinegar was just the right dipping sauce for the cold, almost bland bean curd. We like this a lot and it is $4.75.

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Long’s Noodle House on Main and 33rd, Vancouver

This is another great find.

After all, this simple looking nondescript restaurant with an equally unimaginative name actually won the 2009 Most Innovative Dish title awarded by The Chinese Restaurant Awards in Metro Vancouver. We just got to try it.

So, we decided to get hold of Whitney and Ken to join us since this is the kind of place where the more people you have the better.

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They should change the name Long’s Noodle House. I think they have grown up … no longer a noodle house but a full fledged restaurant. Really, if you just drive past this restaurant you will definitely give this place a miss. The signboard is totally devoid of any design. Even the bars on the windows tends to tell you that this location is not too good part of the neighborhood.

Long’s Noodle House is located on Main and 33rd. It is actually just next door to Au Petit, one of the most popular Vietnamese restaurant on Metro Vancouver. I think Long’s is a Shanghainese restaurant.

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The place is awfully small. You know, I think it’s good that they stay that way. I hope they never expand and keep doing what they do best.

They are opened at 5:30PM for dinner. We were there about 10 minutes early and the waitress (Sandy was her name, I think) was very gracious to open up to let us in. I read that she is a super waitress who does everything in the front … take orders, deliver dishes, give you your bill, the whole shebang … all alone. And she does it so cheerfully too … we like her immediately.

Well, except for one thing. She was so hell bent on making sure she maximize her table turns. When we told her we are a party of seven and that we did NOT have a reservation, she hesitated a while. You see, apparently ALL the tables were already reserved for 5:30PM except for this one table that fits seven just nicely … but Whitney and Ken was no where in sight yet. She wanted to only give us the table only if our entire party is present.

So, I lied and told her they are just a couple of blocks away and pretend to call Whitney and Ken to confirm. Once she set our tables, we’re safe. Except that she came around every 5 minutes asking where they are!

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Sharp at 5:30PM, all the tables were filled up! Wow, I had never seen a place ran like this!

It was a relief when Ken and Whitney turned up … at least I don’t feel so embarrassed for telling a lie. Mind you, Sandy is very gracious about it but I understand seeing how disciplined the other tables were. LOL! I knew we were in a right place that afternoon.

I knew what I MUST have … the Most Innovative Dish in Metro Vancouver. The printed menu they gave us was not very extensive but quite respectable in terms of number of items. There were quite a few delicious sounding name. I know the best dishes are what is written on the board. Too bad they are all in Chinese and so we had to settle for what is on the menu.

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We rattled off our orders to Sandy — nine items in all. She did not even write it down and I was afraid if she will mess up our order seeing how busy she is. I asked her to write it down but she said it’s OK she got it. I was amazed here because she got everything correct when she brought a printout of the order to show us.

For starters, we had Steamed Mini Pork Buns (Xiao Long Bao). We like the brothiness in the bun but I would say it was quite OK, not great like the ones we had in Popular. No complain price wise though … it was just $4.95 for six.

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Whitney loves pig ears. She can talk and talk about where to find the best pig ears in Vancouver. So, I decided that we order this for her. This is $5.50 and we all liked it. The texture was what we expect of a good pig ear … crunchy.

We eagerly waited for Whitney’s verdict. She gave the thumbs up.

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I wanted to be adventurous and went ahead to order the Salted Soya Bean Milk from their Dim Sum section of the menu. To me, the words salted and soya bean milk does not jive — just like sushi and curries, for instance. Sandy explained that they have two types of soya bean milk — salted (which is served hot) and sweet (served cold).

The Salted Soya Bean Milk ($2.50) was served in a bowl and had thin slices of youtiao (Chinese donut) in it. Despite the name, it was actually not salty at all. I would describe it as savory. You should try it and see if you like it.

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Max’s Bakery & Delicatessen on Oak St., Vancouver

Polly and I met again for our cake meet. We cant meet as regular as we like due to spring break or school Pro-D days. We enjoyed our ladies only cake meet where we can indulge ourselves with sweet treats and chat about anything, mostly about our children. Girl just need a girl friend to talk to.

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We had our cake meet at Max’s Bakery & Delicatessen on Oak St. Max’s Bakery & Delicatessen has 2 other locations, one on West 8th Ave and another on Granville Island which is known as Stuart’s Bakery which I had blogged about here. I have no idea that Stuart’s Bakery is a branch of Max’s until I checked Max’s website.

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We knew that this must be a busy location because they have a numbering system installed where you take a number and wait for your number to be displayed or called upon. They have lots of bake goods, pastries and cakes to choose from. We knew we’ll like this place the moment we walked in.

One unique thing we noticed in Max’s is their one blade fan. I wonder if it’s more for decoration or function.

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This bakery not only has lots of cakes and sweet treats, but they also have lots of savoury items to offer, like sandwiches, lasagna, roast chicken, salad, etc. We will be back to try their savoury items on our next visit.

Max’s also does catering, whether it’s corporate luncheon, wedding reception, or a celebratory family gathering. (more…)

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Ebisu on Robson, Vancouver

You might have guessed by now. We are eating out more in downtown than we used to.

We eat out in Richmond most of the time but of late Suanne and I have more time on our own since the boys have more activities of their own too. I am not sure if it’s good or bad because it also means one thing … that in a few short years, our boys will be more on their own and before we know it, they’ll be moving out of the nest.

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We went to Ebisu on Robson. Apparently, Ebisu has several outlets. We know of one in Richmond but had never been there before. We were actually there on the recommendation of someone who knows the General Manager of this outlet. Suanne and I thought it would be great to check out a place where we get to learn and not just dine at the place.

This particular one is located at the intersection of Robson and Bute.

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We went there very early at 5PM and were met by Deon. Being curious, we enjoyed the fact that we get to learn more about Ebisu from Deon who spent a lot of time telling us about this two year old restaurant.

Apparently Ebisu is an offshoot of the 40-year old Kamei Royale, one of the earliest traditional Japanese restaurant in Vancouver. Today, many of the chefs in some of the more popular Japanese restaurants have their root in Kamei Royale. Unlike Kamei Royale, Ebisu serves contemporary and fusion Japanese food.

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You all probably know I appreciate little things in a restaurant. When we were seated, we were handed HOT (disposable) towels. To me, this shows that they think of every minutest of details.

Talking about hot towels, this one I use to wipe my face … it feels good. But … you know in some Chinese restaurants, they also hand you hot towels but not the disposable ones (like this type in Ebisu). Do you use it to wipe your hands only? I had always wanted to use those to wipe my face because it feels so good but have never done it (in public!) because it makes me look like I am uncultured! LOL!

I have seen people using the towels to wipe their hands, face … and NECK!

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I love their menus. Lots of big pictures and lots of variety. They are promoting their Happy Hour menu with a lot of good deals. They only started the Happy Hour menu about 4 weeks ago.

I remember we took an awfully long time to choose what we wanted that the waitress came by three times asking if we were ready to place our order. We finally made our choices with the help of Deon. We like this because we can ask as many dumb questions we wanted to make sure we know exactly what we are ordering.

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We asked Deon what is the one thing on the menu he is most proud of. Without hesitation, he said the drinks particularly the one he calls the Golden Balls. He also told me that every single drink on the menu is his own creation — we were quite impressed.

What we like most of the menu is that they print the alcohol content on each drink. That makes it easy for people like Suanne and I who does not take much alcohol to choose our drinks.

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I got the Golden Balls which is Orchid Lychee Liquer, Peach Schnapps and Apple Juice. It was a very nice drink and I can see why Deon says that it is their most popular drink. They use fresh lychees to make this (i.e. not canned lychees).

Suanne had the Virgin Lime Margarita which is $3.75. It was sourish with a hint of bitterness. We like the glowy snow whiteness of the drink — like it’s radioactive or something.

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Since the oysters were just 99 cents, we ordered just three to try. Deon was raving that their oysters are very popular, always fresh and never kept more than 48 hours. He also said that at 99 cents, Ebisu has perhaps the cheapest oysters. Some places charges like $20 for six pieces alone.

Suanne is squirmish over raw stuff and hates the sliminess of oysters. It came in a large ice bowl and was surprised that they even have four different types of sauces. The sauces are vinegar, Tabasco, chili sauce and other one we could not quite figure out. It is an unique chili sauce with a little bitterness in it.

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However, the oysters are pretty small. Maybe that is why it’s just 99 cents. We enjoyed it. I said we because Suanne mustered enough courage to try one. The sauces were great. I wanted to order more but felt kind of silly to ask for “three more please”.

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We had some “action” food, or “interactive” food, if I may. It is called the Inferno which comes with either Hamachi (yellow tail) or Saba (mackerel). We got the Hamachi one ($9.90). They torched it in front of us. Seated by the window in broad daylight, there was not much of an action here. I would love to take a picture of this in darker settings with the blue flames blasting the hamachi.

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Brix Restaurant and Wine Bar in Yaletown, Vancouver

ChowtimesNoWord32x32This is a complementary meal from Brix Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Oh boy! This was exactly what I needed.

I tell you … taking a week off work is not necessarily a good thing. I took a week off work to clear off my accumulated vacation days because HR sent a note that says “use it or lose it”. So, I took a week off and decided not to get on the VPN … and as expected when I got to the office on Monday morning last week, over a thousand emails greeted my return to work — many of them with a red exclamation mark shouting “urgent”.

So, the past week had been spent on catching up on work and dealing with issues. I must have spent 50 hours at work that week. With great weather at the end of week, I sure was glad it was all over. Suanne and I decided to just go downtown for dinner to cap off the week.

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We decided to go to Brix because we were curious about the new First Seating Dinner Menu that we found on our email. Brix is located on 1138 Homer in Yaletown. As you all well know, parking in Yaletown is a challenge. Added to that it was a Friday afternoon and also the Canucks playoff game happening that night.

Brix does offer valet parking ($8) but the good thing a car was just pulling out from one of the many street parking bays.

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You really should check out Brix’s quiet courtyard sanctuary which tucked away from street noise while opened right to the street. It was absolutely charming with high glass covered roof. We wanted so much to eat out at the courtyard but it was still quite chilly that day. The courtyard has heating but it was a bit too cold for Suanne.

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So we decided to take the table in the inside of the restaurant which presents a whole different setting with rustic brick works and high ceiling. Since we were early, we get to choose our tables … and choose the one by the window which is on a raised platform. It was a great table. We got to see the world go by and at the same time have a commanding view of the dining area. We figured later that the platform could be used as an altar for a wedding reception.

This is one place where a nice table is as important as the meal itself.

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Service was exquisite. Suanne and I really wanted a quiet dinner to put the week behind us. The wait staff who waited on us can read us quite well. She briefly explained the menus (they have a few of it) and brought us the bread. There were three types of bread and we were informed that they are all made in-house by the pastry chef. We like the soft bread with herbs the best.

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The bread came with butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Nice! We liked it so much that we actually had two refills of the bread throughout the dinner. This is how bread should be served … made fresh and with choices for the customer.

We opted for the $29 First Seating Dinner Menu, which is paired with wine as an extra if you so choose. With two options for the 3-courses available, choosing was an easy “one-of-each”.

You know what impressed us a lot? When we said we wanted one-of-each, they asked to confirm we meant to share. We said yes and they actually set us up to share with extra plates — extra warm plates. Brix sure is attentive.

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One of the starters we had was the springrolls. The slim and long springrolls were made to be easily handled as finger food. They are filled with julienne vegetable and tofu and sprinkled with salt on the outside. It was crunchy to the bite especially with the thin hard wrapper.

The best part? The sauces! They served this with three type of sauces. There is the aioli, papaya sambal sauce and shitake hoisin — absolutely marvelous. The shitake hoisin has a little saltiness in it which brings out the best in the springrolls. What we like best was the papaya sambal sauce which is spicy. I had never quite had anything like this before and I think you will like it too.

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The other starter was the Spinach greens tossed in orange balsamic vinaigrette. There was a generous amount of wild mushroom underneath the greens which is topped with goat cheese. This is simply some of the better salad I had.

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On to the main course. It is called the Seven Spiced Grilled Alberta AAA Beef Tenderloin. Made medium rare, it came with a liberal amount of light Soya Demi Glace. The demi glace made the already juicy steak a lot more moist. The steak is one part of the story …

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Simply Curries on Kingsway, Vancouver

Updated: 16th Dec 2014; This restaurant has changed its name to Cafe Madras according to Urbanspoon.com.

ChowtimesNoWord32x32This is a complementary meal from Simply Curries.

There is something about Simply Curries that catches my attention. I still remember the first time we had lunch there when they first opened about six years ago. It was brand new then. I think it was the striking yellow-orange color of the place.

A few weeks back, some of you recalled that I blogged about Popular Chinese Cuisine. Walking back to our car from the dinner, we walked passed Simply Curries and remarked that we had been to this place before.

Coincidentally, a week later, a friend sent us an email to check out Simply Curries and said that the owner wanted to invite us to do a review on the place.

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Simply Curries is very much a hole in the wall kind serving South Indian food. It is located along Kingsway in Vancouver, between Joyce and Tyne. You will not miss spotting Simply Curries — just look for the large yellow-orange signboard.

Vishy is the man behind this place and I must add, very chatty too.

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The interior is very simple but it is painted in bright yellow-orange. I asked if he is a NDP supporter (since he proudly showed me a video of Jack Layton’s visit on his computer). He vehemently said, “No, No, No!” … and then proudly added that it’s painted in the colors of the Indian national flag, pointing to the green on the ceiling.

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Vishy said that the theme he wanted for Simply Curries is “keep it simple”. He does not believe in very fancy menus with hard to picture Indian names. He has this 3-step ordering system posted on the wall prominently.

Since we were there on Vishy’s invitation, I asked that he surprise us … just serve us what he wants.

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Surprise us he did. He made Curry on Fries for Nanzaro. Hmmm … why have anyone not really thought of this? This was great. I personally prefer curries over gravy with fries anytime. You might want to try this. At Simply Curries, this is $4.75.

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The other surprise he gave us was these colorful and marvelous Mini Samosas. You will love this. They came color coded so that you know what it is in them. Green is spinach, yellow is lamb, white is chicken and red is beef. Yeah, I know. I had the same question too about the beef samosa.

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We absolutely love this. They are plump, well-formed and made in bite sizes. The skin was crispy with a little spiciness in the skin even. Vishy serves this with tamarind sauce as the dip. We dipped it both in the tamarind sauce and the curries he gave us … they are great. Simply Curries sells this for $5.75 a plate which includes a dozen pieces.

Here is the beauty. You will get this for free if you …

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Cho Sun Korean BBQ on Kingsway, Vancouver

One of the thing I had to accept being a Project Manager is that I don’t have a permanent team to work with. Members are assigned to my project and once the project is delivered, the members are re-assigned elsewhere. The project I am working on right now is just a few short months away. It is at this time that the team begins to say our Thank You’s … by eating out.

It was Neelam we all gave a Thank You to. It is sort of customary that the Goodbye Girl gets to choose the type of food and gets to choose whoever she wants to invite (outside of the team).

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Neelam said she wanted Korean BBQ and left the choice of the restaurant to me. Within walking distance from the office is Jang Mo Jib which I ruled out immediately. There is also Johnston House but to my surprised they were closed for business already. I remember eating at Johnston House before and absolutely love the mansion that they were in.

We ended up in Cho Sun Korean BBQ which located on Kingsway just west of Boundary. When I called for a reservation for 14 people, I had a tough time because they don’t speak much English. Which I think was great because this means that it is an authentic Korean place.

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We were given a booth with long tables with just enough space for the 14 of us. It was as authentic as it could get. The benches were lined with thin pillows. If you want to squeeze in more people, no problem … just grab one of the pillows from the common area. Red is for the girls and blue is for the boys (I’m kidding).

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We were there at noon but the place was freezing cold like there is no heating at all. They have these portable heaters placed all over the restaurant which I thought that it was kind of dangerous leaving it standing on the walkway.

I was just thinking … is there a reason why they have portable heaters? Could it be because that Korean BBQ places have so many stove burning that they don’t turn on the internal heating as the place will warm up from it?

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As we got seated, the girls scampered off and came back with these. Nice! The bottle says it is Jimro Chamjin Isulro Soju. It had 20% alcohol content. They also bought a can called Milkis to water it down. Milkis looks a lot like Pocari Sweat — funny names!

I noticed that after the drinks, the party got a lot more louder.

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Bonnie was the resident expert on Korean food. We gladly left all the ordering to her. She was kind of exasperated ordering because the Korean wait staff did not understand the order. They eventually got someone who speaks English to help straighten out the order. You will probably understand … with such a big group of people with some being vegetarian and all, we need to make sure that everyone had their fair share.

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Since I did not order the food, I have no idea what these all are. The main dish is the Korean BBQ. There are a number BBQ choices to it with some of them pretty expensive ($27-$37).

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Here is another type … ribs.

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Tyler painstakingly took the time to snip off the bones. Although they provided the scissors, I am not sure if it is meant to snip off the bones or if it’s just to separate the ribs into serving sizes. What is the right way? Anyone?

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Being amateurs, we set the stove real high with flames leaping out. High heat means faster cooking right? They came by and politely told us that we should turn the flame down — we were smoking up our section like crazy.

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