Previous Food Posts on my Vancouver Trip
Last post to my Vancouver eating trip. We drove down to Seattle and stayed overnight so we got to try a couple places there. I wish I live near the borders so I can go down to the states and take advantage of the low prices on groceries and the likes!
Breakfast at Lido
We decided to leave Richmond early in the morning just to beat the line ups at the border, however we needed to grab some grub before we leave. Lido opens at 7:15am for breakfast so it was the perfect choice. It is a cafe style restaurant but a glance at their menu shows items that they feature much more than your regular cafe style choices. They really like to post their specials on their walls… and by that their entire wall is covered with different colored pages!
Pineapple Bun with Butter – $2.15
What’s so appealing about this, you might ask? I don’t know. I don’t even eat pineapple bun on a regular basis but when it’s nicely warmed with a thick slice of butter in the center… hmmmmm. Definitely not a diet food, but who cares. YOLO! The bun is really soft with a mildly sweet crust on top. The butter slice is soft but barely melted from the warm bun so it’s bite after bite of creamy goodness.
House Special Congee – part of breakfast combo – $6.85
My mom wanted something warm, and since she’s so Asian of course she went for the Asian breakfast combo. I didn’t try any of her food but she said the congee was good.
Rice Roll – part of breakfast combo – $6.85
My mom said rice roll was only decent, but for that price I don’t think you can really complain. It’s funny how when we order the server had to tell us that the rice rolls comes with green onions/cilantro – I wonder why. If it is a problem for some diners perhaps they should serve plain ones instead?
Instant Noodle with Pan Fried Chicken Thigh – $6.85
I know what you’re thinking. I’m ordering instant noodle at a restaurant? Yeah… I didn’t want congee, rice rolls, eggs… whatever else the heck they had on the breakfast menu. I wanted something familiar. Besides, since my toddler loves noodles this is the easiest thing to feed him! This tasted as it looks. I don’t know how I can review on instant noodles to be honest but the chicken was pretty good!
Service was just what you would expect – blunt and a bit rushed, but the servers do get you what you need, albeit with a bit of attitude. Prices are ok – for some reason I was expecting it to be lower but I’m comparing to Hong Kong I guess. It’s not any cheaper than Calgary for sure.
Snack at Carl’s Jr
I was a bit famished after shopping at the outlets, Costco, Target… and there were still a couple hours before dinner. I didn’t want to starve myself so I really needed something to snack on. Truth be told, I am not a fan of fast food joints [for very obvious reasons] but when you need something quick and cheap they do the job. I’ve never ate at Carl’s Jr before so I thought I should give them a try. It’s nothing special, just your regular fast food joint.
Famous Star with Cheese – $2.99
This tasted like a Whopper from Burger King. It’s nice how they don’t charge you additional for cheese. The burger was as tasty as fast food burgers go but it did the job. We went back to our hotel to rest for a bit and then prepare ourselves for dinner…
Dinner at Shiro’s
I had very high expectations for Shiro’s, especially learning that Shiro himself was once a disciple of the sushi master Jiro Ono. The chance of me ever dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro before he retires is less than 0%, so I thought going at Shiro’s would be as close to that. The restaurant was very busy when we arrived – kudos to me for being proactive and made reservations way ahead of time. As we entered we received a very warm welcome from Shiro behind the sushi counter. I decided the omakase ($65) is the way to go while my mom went for a lighter meal.
Course 1 – Sashimi
Consists of farmed salmon, red tuna and white tuna. Very fresh and nicely cut slices of sweet tasting sashimi. I would’ve preferred the salmon to be of the wild variety.
Course 2 – Appetizer
I’ve never seen such a small raw oyster before. The meat was plump and juicy but I wish it was a bigger piece so I can taste it a bit more.
Braised yam with a hint of sweetness. These were perfectly soft without being mushy.
Lightly fried salmon belly and marinated in a sweet vinaigrette. This seems to be one of their signature dishes as it is on the regular menu. The salmon was good – not overcooked but the batter is all soggy from the vinaigrette.
Course 3 – Entree
Tempura Shrimp and Yam
The tempura here is light and crispy. I’m not sure about eating with salt – I like my tempura served with the tentsuyu sauce with grated diakon. I mean I understand sprinkling sea salt on some sashimi will bring out the flavors more but why would you eat it with deep fried items?
Miso Black Cod
As with all miso black cod, this was just buttery smooth with a hint of sweetness from the miso and probably mirin. The meat was perfectly flaky and disintegrated as soon as I put it into my mouth. Since my mom also loves it I had to share it with her.
Course 4 – Nigiri
Consists of 1/2 tuna roll, and the following nigiri: ikura, king mackerel, snapper, hamachi, and red tuna. Again, very fresh fish and well cut sashimi. The fish to rice ratio is good. The nigiri is sized right so you can pop the entire piece into your mouth. I know I say that a lot but I just don’t think nigiri should be a two-three biter.
Course 5 – Asari Miso
This miso soup didn’t taste like it was just miso. Rather, it was like a clear, seafood broth with miso in it and it was very good. It’s hard to find a good miso soup, but then everyone’s preferences are different. I just don’t think a good miso soup is as simple as mixing miso paste with water and let it boil. It needs other ingredients in it for more depth in the flavors!
Course 6 – Dessert
Tempura Green Tea ice cream. I like how the batter was nice and light but I didn’t like it served with whipped cream – it melted really fast from the heat of the tempura and as a result it turned into a whipped cream soup. Also the scoop of ice cream could be way bigger.
A la carte
California Roll – $5.00
Guess who this was for? Since my son was really hungry he ate this in no time. I like how this was delicately made and they included tobiko into the filling as well. Some places charge more to have tobiko or sesame seed on your California roll – and here you get both!
Gyoza – $6.75
I have to say $6.75 is quite steep for gyoza. Do you think these are made in house? They actually do taste like it, and they are quite good. Jam packed with meat and vegetables and all wrapped in a thin, delicate skin. Each piece was burst with flavors and natural juices from the meat. My toddler also really enjoyed these and had no trouble finishing them up.
Salmon Collar – $7.50
Of course, grilled fish for my mom. She said this was really good but it is a small piece for the price.
Omakase Sushi Dinner – $25
My mom wanted some sashimi, but 5 pieces for $13.75 (salmon) and knowing that she won’t be full with that and the salmon collar I decided to choose the omakase sushi dinner for her instead. At least she’ll have some rice as filler and more variety of fish! Here we have red tuna, tuna, farmed salmon, [cannot remember what that piece in the upper right hand corner is], marinated red tuna, mackerel, cooked shrimp and eel, along with half red tuna roll. She really enjoyed this plate. She said everything was very fresh and I hardly ever see my mom eating a whole plate of raw fish. Yes, she likes salmon sashimi, but you know with most older Asians… they like their cooked stuff and can only tolerate so much raw stuff. I have to say she did well here and I’m proud of her!
Tofu Miso Soup
Served with Omakase Sushi Dinner
I don’t know if this was the same soup as my clam one. My mom said it was good and not too salty.
Nigiri: Spanish Mackerel – $3.75, Uni – $4.00
I decided to try one of their specials (the Spanish mackerel) as well as a piece of uni. Sadly, I later saw that the uni comes from a package and not live. The Spanish Mackerel had a nice, firm texture and a bit of sweetness to it. The Uni was only ok – it didn’t have that rich, golden color and it wasn’t as creamy as I liked it to be.
Overall the food was pretty good, but it is also quite pricey. The omakase was definitely not as good of a deal as the one I had at Octopus Garden (see my day 1 post). I know I said I don’t mind paying $$$ for good quality so I think I was just spoiled in Vancouver :p The fish was very fresh, given the location, and the staff was wonderful and friendly. I would say it was a great dinner – I like the fact that it’s traditional Japanese fare and I say you should visit at least once.
Brunch at Cafe Campagne
Next morning we had reservations at Cafe Campagne for brunch. No thanks to my POS GPS [continue one mile on I-5 does not equal to exit right onto Pike Street you SOB!] I missed the turn off big time so I had to detour, and then trying to find parking… let’s just say we were half an hour late for our reservation. Miraculously they were still able to accommodate us (I’m sure our table was given away, and why wouldn’t it be!) and we were very glad. The restaurant is a little cozy place that oozes of French charm and elegance.
Cappuccino – $4.25
My mom’s preferred coffee. She definitely enjoyed it.
Chocolat Chaud Rich, House-Made – $4.50
As I don’t care much for coffee, I didn’t know what to drink and then I saw that their hot chocolate was made in house. Alright! It was smooth, rich, and creamy but not so sweet that it’s over the top.
Ketchup, Aioli, House-Made jam, butter
Oeufs Brouilles – $10
Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, served with chicken and pork sausage, roasted potatoes and baguette
My mom chose this simple and basic breakfast. She loved everything on this plate! She said the eggs were smooth and fluffy, while the sausage was juicy and flavorful, and the baguette was just really good bread! The potatoes were nicely crisped and seasoned well – I think she finished everything off the plate.
Oeufs en Meurette – $16
Poached eggs with a sauce of pearl onions, bacon, champignons in red wine – foie gras sauce on garlic croutons, pommes frites
I prechose this as I was studying their menu online. The description of the ingredients were very appealing to me and as soon as this dish was set down in front of me, I knew I made the right choice. It doesn’t look like much, but the flavors were so rich that you don’t really need a large portion of the food. The eggs are poached lightly and I broke the yolk allover the garlic croutons. It didn’t taste like croutons – I thought it was fried bread! Mix that yummy yolk into the red wine sauce and that just takes your taste buds to another level. Wow. I am crazy for that sauce. You can really taste the red wine with a hint of foie gras yet it was enough. I think this dish is the definition of French cuisine (in the breakfast department anyway)!
I saw other tables leaving half of their fries untouched and I was wondering why… was something wrong with them? Nope – they were probably just really full after eating their Oeufs en Meurette :p The fries were crispy and seasoned very well – I was only able to make it about 1/4 through and gave up. I used them to mop up the rest of the red wine sauce (wasn’t going to let that go to waste!!).
Service was tres bien! Our pretty server was all smiles and was very attentive. Prices are reasonable and we definitely enjoyed our meal. I would love to return to try their lunch and dinner!
Sweets from Bakery Nouveau
Right before we drove back to Richmond I decided that I had to check out another bakery. Not knowing that there is a West Seattle where you have to cross a bridge to get to… I’m gonna say that I will not do that again under a time crunch.
Sugar Brioche – $2.20
I tried baking brioche a couple weekends ago and I failed miserably. After talking to my friend K it turns out that I have to beat the dough until it bounces like a ball before it’s considered done. The recipe I was following didn’t say that, so I had nothing to compare to. Next time I’ll know. This was nicely fluffy with a nice piece of sugar topping. I ate this with some of my homemade lemon curd and it was just perfect!
Macarons – $1.50/pc
The flavors were cappuccino, cassis, grapefruit and strawberry-vanilla. These were well made texture-wise but they were all different sizes.
I would definitely return to try out more of their baked goods! Prices are decent and service was efficient.
Early Dinner at Top Shanghai
I knew my mom wanted some Shanghai food before we leave for Calgary and we were planning to go back to Shanghai River. Unfortunately for us, they close between 3-5pm and we had to be at the airport for 6pm… so that wouldn’t work. I thought of checking out Top Shanghai before I settle for another H.K. cafe and I was very happy they were open. I’ve been to Top Shanghai several times and really liked the food. Unfortunately with this visit I felt that some items were a miss.
Spicy Beef Tendon – $7.95
This was my favorite dish. The tendons were nicely crunchy and flavored well with the spicy oil.
Wine Chicken (1/2) – $12.95
My mom’s must-have dish. The chicken meat was nice and firm but I find the wine flavor a tad too strong for my liking. However, my mom thought it was good and polished this off in no time.
Shredded Chicken and Starch Sheets with Sesame Sauce – $6.95
I usually like to get this dish every chance I get, but the one here is a major disappointment even though I have liked it in the past. The starch sheets were definitely overcooked as it was quite soggy. The sesame sauce was too salty and very goopy. We did not enjoy this dish at all and couldn’t finish it.
Jia Jiang Noodle – $6.95
I got this for my noodle-loving son. There was a good amount of minced pork but the sauce was way too thin and not really flavorful. The noodles were just a tad soft.
Soup Dumplings – $5.00
The XLBs here are definitely one of the best in Vancouver (imo). The meat inside is juicy and the skin wrapping is nicely thin. Be very careful when you eat this – hot soup will burst out when you bite into it! I like to bite the top off first, suck up all the soup, then add vinegar to it and finish eating it that way.
Prices are reasonable, but service was just piss poor. Even though it was adequate, the servers all seemed really angry and grumpy. The one thing I really didn’t like was the cash only policy if the bill is less than $50. Really? Overall I would come back for their XLBs but I think I prefer Shanghai River more. Too bad the XLBs at Shanghai River isn’t as good.
And that’s all for my Vancouver eating trip! Can’t wait for my next one in about a year’s time (at least).