Shari’s in Bellingham

We had seen many Shari’s restaurants in our travel along the Western USA. We see a lot of them especially in Washington and Oregon state … but never been into one. From the outside it seems very much like Denny’s. So, over the weekend we decided to go to the Shari’s in Bellingham for lunch.

One unique thing about Shari’s restaurant is their unique six sided building design which allows for maximum windows seating. It also allows the quickest path from the centrally located kitchen to the dining tables. I am impressed with the thinking behind the design.

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Shari’s is a family oriented restaurant which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Shari’s is named after the wife of the founder of the restaurant chain … her name was Sharon but not sure how it ended up as a Shari.

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Nanzaro was not a happy camper that day. He so badly wanted the iced coffee but we said no. Don’t you think he’s too young to have coffee on his own? And to make matter worse, he ordered Pepsi instead but they served it to him in a kiddy cup! He was so annoyed that that he quite sternly told the waitress, he does not want his Pepsi in a kiddy cup. Oh boy … he is in a rush to grow up isn’t he?

Suanne and I had the Arosta iced mocha and iced coffee. We love this. We had expected the Mocha to be rich and thick but surprisingly the Iced Coffee was equally rich too. This is way much better than McDonald’s Iced Coffee which we had learned to love so much.

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Krispy Kreme in Burlington, WA

Armed with the Canadian passport, we went across the border again the following week. I don’t know about you but there is this something special about the Canadian passports and Canadian travelers. I seems to think that a lot of people in the world actually likes Canadians. We are the quiet, respectful kind of travelers and we don’t make enemies around the world! Almost …

I recall once that American travelers actually get maple leaf patches for their backpacks when they travel. This is so that people will leave them alone thinking that they are Canadians. Have you heard of that before? It was in the news about a year ago or so only.

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This time round, we tried going south via the Pacific Crossing. The radio was saying that it wait was “about 20-30 minutes”. They were just about 30-40 minutes off their estimated wait time … took us a bloody 1 whole hour to cross.

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And just my luck again for picking the wrong lane. With just a couple of cars in front of us, there was a problem. Not sure what it was but it sure took them a long time checking and cross checking the car … took them almost 15 minutes.

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I kind of like and at the same time hate the US highways. I mean, they are wide and well constructed but I sure hate to see them in Beautiful British Columbia.

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As we were in Burlington, I thought I drive past Krispy Kreme and see if they are making the donuts then. This Krispy Kreme location is where we had our first ever Krispy Kreme. Man … it was (and still is) the best donuts that I had ever tasted before.

There is only one Krispy Kreme in the Vancouver area — in the far flung city of Surrey. Before that store opened, we used to drive all the way to Burlington for Krispy Kreme. Oh yeah, I remember I once told the border guard that I am going over for Krispy Kreme and he found it funny.

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IHOP Breakfast in Bellingham, WA

Well, it finally happened. One would never have had guessed we’ll see this day in our lifetime — the Canadian Loonie is now equal to the once mighty US Dollar. Just a few days ago, it reached as high as USD$1.02 to CAD$1.

I did some checking on the Bank of Canada exchange rate website and found out a few interesting facts.

  • The lowest all-time rate was 62 cents US to the Canadian Dollar. That was just a short 5.5 years ago. It’s amazing how fast we had reached par.
  • The highest all-time rate was USD$1.06 to CAD$1. That was about 50 years ago. It’s just 4 more cents to hit the all time high. Wow!

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These days, Vancouverites had been making their way south of the border for a shopping spree. I swear that at least 20% of all the people I know had made a trip down south the past few weeks. We were one of those 20% of the people.

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Of late, we had been hearing horror stories of long waits at the border. One of my friend actually had a 3-hour wait(!) coming back. The news reported that the best time to cross is before 6AM. Well, we did just that … almost. We left home at 6:15AM and guess what … we should have left at 6!

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We quickly realized the problem … there is only ONE lane opened at the Peace Arch Crossing. And me being so smart, I picked the wrong lane. I took this lane that was much shorter — like they say … if it’s too good to be true, it is.

I guess those people on the correct lane were as frustrated over the long lines. I don’t blame them for thinking I am one of those queue jumpers. Honest to God … I am not! So, no one gave me any room to move into the right lane for 20 minutes. I did not think it was right to move forward. Sigh … we just waited patiently until someone gave us room to move in.

Let you in on a tip … an extra lane opens at 7AM.

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We stopped by an IHOP for breakfast in Bellingham. Frankly we were all very hungry as we did not even have a cup of coffee before we left home.

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We were one of the early birds in the restaurant and had practically the entire section to ourselves. By the time we left, there was a long line of customers waiting for a table. This IHOP apparently is newly opened. What I like most is the welcoming jugs on every table.

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Silver Tower Cafe Restaurant in Richmond

Back in early July this year, we blogged about a place called Golden Award Cafe Restaurant. Just a week after we blogged about the place, guess what … the place closed down! We did a good review of that place and I guess it was good enough to have led a reader of chowtimes to check it out. “Fresh_one” was the one who alerted us to this.

A couple of months or so ago, we passed by this place again and there’s a new restaurant in it’s place now. It was Golden Award and now it became Silver Tower!

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The interior is much cleaner than the last time we were here. However, it is also much darker. The lightings are dimmer and all the furnishings are in black. The high partitions too gives everyone better privacy. Not sure if I like that or not.

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We decided to order from the “Chinese Dishes” menu. As you can see, the dishes are generally $7.95 which to me is really good prices. Each dish came with a choice of soup and steamed rice.

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The soup is rather decent if you ask me. At least there are some chunks of meat in it, not just bones.

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We decided to order 3 dishes. Up until early this year, we could order 2 types of dishes and that would have been enough for the four of us. Of late, Nanzaro and especially Arkensen had developed much bigger appetite … they’re at that growing age. I remember I ate like a pig when I was their age that my mum was worried for me.

Well, we have always try to eat within our weekly dine out budget but just a few months ago, we have to bump up our budget by $10 a meal. At this rate they are going, we’ll have to pay for four full meals each time we dine out. Sigh … we used to get by with only $18 for the four of us!!

The first dish we chose was the Szechuan Spicy Green Beans. This is awesome. We love the crunchiness of the fresh green beans.

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Tropika in Richmond with ChubbyPanda

Updated: 7th Jan 2015; Tropika is closed in this location.

You know, ever since we started blogging over a year and a half ago, we had never ever met fellow bloggers. We know bloggers by their handles and had gotten to know a lot of them … except their real names and what they really look like.

Chubbypanda is a blogger from Anaheim and is one of our favourite blog sites. He and Cat came up to Vancouver a few weeks ago and we arranged to meet up over … what else … food. He is currently running his series on his visit to Canada.

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Since Chubbypanda wanted to try Malaysian food, I recommended that we meet up in Tropika for dinner. Tropika is one of a handful of fine Malaysian restaurants in the Vancouver area. I know they have three restaurants here. The one we went to is located at the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond. BTW, Suanne had once blogged about this place here.

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The restaurant is bright with the floor to ceiling glass wall looking out from the Aberdeen Mall on two sides of the restaurant. Although they advertised themselves as a Malaysian/Thai restaurant, I really think that they are more Malaysian than Thai and the reason is that Thai food is more recognizable here in Vancouver than Malaysian.

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Ordering was left to me … and I guess I did not make a great impression for the choices I made! Really, I am not familiar with their menu and ended up with a very odd combination. Anyway, first boo-boo was the Fried Hokkien Noodles. Well, I thought it is supposed to be the ones with the same name that we find in KL but this turned out to me more of Chow Mein to me.

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Green Lettuce in Vancouver

I organized a going away lunch for two people who worked on my project team. It’s sad to see people leave but at the same time you know that projects being what they are, people don’t get to work permanently together for very long.

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Since there were quite a bit of people going, I thought that we should try some Asian style lunch where we order dishes to share. For these types of meals, the more people you have the more you could varieties you could order.

So we went to the Green Lettuce which is basically sort of a Chinese-Indian fusion restaurant … although I think the word “fusion” is not exactly what it really describes. It more of a Chinese restaurant with East Indian cooking and ingredients. It’s like 2/3 Chinese and 1/3 Indian. Be prepared … this restaurant specializes in spicy food.

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I did not even make a reservation even though we have 17 people in all. I was pretty confident that if we were there early (11:45AM), they can accommodate us. We were lucky actually because there was another big party who booked for lunch that day. Close call! They managed to accommodate us by seating us together since we were earlier than the other group who had their group scattered across several tables.

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We left the ordering to the other side of the long table and so I had no idea what or how much were being ordered. So, I am pretty much making guess work on what it is we had. Well, the ones below is wonton soup. It was really good ones … big and meaty. The broth was great too.

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There is also the sour and spicy soup. I noticed that the Caucasians stayed away from this but simply love wontons. The Asians like this.

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Some noodles dishes. Since we had so many people, we had the chance to order two of each … one spicy and the other non-spicy.

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Teahut Garden Cafe in Richmond

Updated on 12 April 2010: This restaurant has closed according to Urbanspoon.

This is another place that we had been to so long ago that I had no idea exactly how long ago it was. However, it know it is a weekend lunchtime. We had problems finding parking space along Alexandra Rd and the only reason we stopped by the Vanezia Place is because there were lots of parking.

We stumbled upon this place quite by accident. If not for the fact we drove upstairs to park, we would never have thought there is a small eatery there. It’s so small that it just had 8 small tables but with windows all round with a second floor view, this place must have been the only restaurant along Alexandra with that has a view. But what really drew us in is the prices of on their menu which was posted outside.

Dishes ranges from $5 to $7 while 10oz steaks range from $10 to $12. I think they have the cheapest food in all of Alexandra Rd.

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It’s a Hongkong Style Cafe … all meals came with a choice of hot or cold beverages. If you opt for pop, there will be additional $1 charge. Strange. I thought that pops are dirt cheap and yet they charge extra *shrugs*. No problems for us because we simply love milk tea and the family does not fancy pops.

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I ordered the Szechuan Seafood Udon in Spicy Soup which cost only $5.95. For that price, I am impressed that it came with a generous serving of mushroom, onion, green peppers, artificial crab meat, prawns, fish and squid. Despite the “spicy” name, it only had a teeny weeny hint of spiciness.

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Lan’s Restaurant on West Broadway

Updated 4Jun2009: Closed (source from Urbanspoon)

Here is one more really, really old post. We were here for dinner on one of the Vancouver fireworks night. Oh … that must have been late August or was it July. Anyway, it was really old.

We have a fixed ritual every year. We love to go to the fireworks, not so much for the fireworks but we simply love to set ourselves down next to the waters and just wait hours for the firework to start. This one time, we decided to check out places in and around Broadway and Granville. One does not need to go far as there are lots of great eateries that caters to all kinds of tastes and budget.

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I did not feel like spending much for food those days because we had just gotten back from a long (and expensive) vacation. 🙂 From the outside, we know this place serves pretty affordable meals. If I recall correctly, this is a Vietnamese restaurant (not pho … but Vietnamese).

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Since there were only three of us (Arkensen was away camping), we ordered a Dinner Combo for 2. It costs only $26.80.

The combo comes with a Soup of the day which is a Hot and Sour Tofu Mushroom soup, the thick version.

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The appetizer is a Crispy Shrimp Dumpling serves with vermicelli on the side. The Shrimp Dumpling skin is made of yam where the outside is fried to crispy and the inside is creamy and soft with shrimp filling.

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E-Canteen in Richmond

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

We’ve been to this place … oh … three months ago and had not gotten down to blog about it. I am going to just take these old blog entries and clear them out of the way the next few days.

I don’t know about you but the name e-Canteen just have no class to it. Before we first visited this place, we had always known about them but never going in … well, because we could not make out what this place is like since they are located on the second floor. Not until someone (honey, was it Polly who told us?) said it was a Hongkong-Style Cafe that we went to check it out.

This is located in 8171 Westminster Highway in Richmond.

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Seems like in a past like this place had been a karaoke joint or something like that. There are individual rooms around the side and there’s a bar counter, which they do not use to serve drinks.

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Like other HK-Style Cafes, you order a main dish and that comes with some extras. Here, the extras are soup and rice in bowl. We had cream soup which was surprising very good.

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We also chose Vegetable Tomato Soup (known as Loh Sung Tong in Cantonese).

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Atlanta Trip: Montana Grill

Atlanta is home to a lot of world famous brands, some of which includes CNN, Coca-Cola and Home Depot. Of that that’s one name that is associated with CNN, Ted Turner. Ted Turner is the founder of CNN. Among other things he is famous for once being married to Jane Fonda and the largest landowner in the US. You know what he uses all that land he has for? It’s to rear bison. He owns over 40,000 heads of bison — which makes him undoubtedly the owner of the largest bison herd in the world.

In the attempt to popularize bison meat, he opened about 50 restaurants called the Montana Grill which specialize in bison meat. We went to one at the Cumberland Mall.

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The restaurant has this timeless look with mahogany paneling, and pendant lighting. There is also a very large bison head hanging up in the wall.

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The table looked kind of busy but upon closer inspection, it’s just the normal sauces they have.

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I started off getting a margarita called the Montana Margarita. I guess that would be a great choice because (1) it’s called Montana after the name of the restaurant and (2) it’s pricier than the other margaritas they server. The $8 margarita is described as 1800 Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier and freshly squeezed sour mix. Sure was a good choice.

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