Brunch Decisions

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What: Bun Cha Muc
Where: Linh Cafe – Vancouver, BC
Cuisine: French/Vietnamese
Affordability: $10-20

When its almost noon on a Saturday and you haven’t had much to eat yet, stepping into Linh Cafe makes decision making pretty challenging. The cafe is located in Kitsilano and is known for French and Vietnamese cuisine. Originally when my friends suggested this place, I thought to myself, hmm this would be interesting, I’ve never had dishes that have both cultural influences before. After we received the menu, we quickly realized that its a cafe that serves both French style and Vietnamese style breakfast foods. So it was a toss up between a cheesy omelette with freshly baked baguette or a steaming hot bowl of pho?  After flip flopping for fifteen minutes, I finally settled on a dish that I’ve never tried before: Bun Cha Muc – Calamari cake, vermicelli, toasted peanut, fresh herbs, fish sauce.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected to be honest. I thought it would be a bowl of cooked vermicelli with a side of fish sauce to pour over. However, the dish was served in a deep bowl, with the noodles swimming in soupy fish sauce, topped with lettuce and calarmari cakes (my favourite part of the dish, though they were kind of getting soggy being soaked in the soup). Tiny red chili bombs were scattered throughout the vermicelli, which gave a kick but also could be lip numbing, so be careful!

Overall, it wasn’t really my idea of a brunch dish, but perhaps I’ll go back to try the pho or French dishes.

Linh Cafe - French Cooking Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Little Taste of Taiwan in Michigan

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What: Spicy Beef HotPot and Taiwanese Fried Chicken
Where: Boiling Pot – East Lansing, Michigan
Cuisine: Taiwanese
Affordability: $10-15

This week, I had to journey out to the cold wintery side of the continent where the daily temperature for the week was hovering around -10 C if not colder with wind chill. I would like to thank Boiling Pot for existing in this town and providing a delicious warm meal after a long day at work. Yes, I went to the same restaurant and ordered the same thing two nights in a row, is that foodie faux pas?

Boiling pot specializes in individual hot pots. There are several varying soup base and meat combinations to choose from, and tons of different vegetables and tofu are thrown in and cooked together. When they bring the pot to your table, they’ll light a bit of gas underneath, so it stays boiling hot. Be careful not to burn your tongue!

The Taiwanese chicken is also very good. Though it doesn’t look anything like the authentic popcorn chicken often found at the night markets in Taiwan, the flavours are similar enough that for every piece of chicken I eat, I’m transported back to my home country.

Definitely the highlight of my trip. Until next time, Lansing!

Dine Out Vancouver Part 1

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What: Lamb Shank
Where: Afghan Horseman in Vancouver
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Affordability: $20

With Dine Out Vancouver starting on January 15 until the 31st, we decided to check out Afghan Horseman on the very first night. We’ve been wanting to go to this restaurant for a while now as they have been awarded many Golden Plate Awards throughout the years and I think it’s always fun trying out a completely new cuisine. There are two distinct sides in the restaurant, one with tables and chairs, and the other side called the Afghan Room, where guests are required to take off their shoes in order to sit on cushions on the ground. It was surprisingly quite comfy, with lots of throw pillows for back support – definitely a unique dining experience.

The Dine Out menu was $20 per person where you can select an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Here’s what we got:

1. Potato Boulany – Whole wheat crust stuffed with mixture of potatoes, sauteed onions, green onions, cilantro, pan fried & served with Chaka (yogurt dip)
-> we had no idea what this was, but it was so delicious, almost like a Chinese scallion pancake with fluffy perogy filling inside. Can we get another order of this please?
2. Salad with Feta Cheese – Mixed tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers & onions, served with our homemade Cilantro dressing & feta cheese (Dressing contains Walnuts)
-> nothing exciting here, just a plain salad…and we couldn’t tell whether there was dressing or not. Probably wouldnt order this again.
3. Lamb Shank and Lamb Shoulder with Baked Rice with Kabui, Stewed Vegetables, and Potato Pawkra.
-> I enjoyed the Lamb shoulder better than the lamb shank, but both were roasted to perfection and fall-off-the-bones tender
The rice was interesting as it came with raisins which added another dimension.
The potatoes on the other hand were amazing!! You should eat these first while they are hot. Its basically a thinly sliced piece of potato, battered, then deep fried, accompanied by some sort of yogurt dip sauce. Probably not the best health wise, but its like taking hashbrowns to the next level. You won’t regret ordering these!
4. For dessert, we settled on Degcha (GF) – Rice Pudding Mixed With Almonds And Topped With Pistachios.
-> I’m not going to lie, after the first spoonful, I wanted to put down the cup, get the bill and call it a night. I can’t really pinpoint why, perhaps the blend of flavours were so foreign to my tastebuds. But then I tried it again and after a second, third, and fourth bite, I couldn’t stop eating it. The flavours definitely grew on me, with each bite tasting better than the one before. The combination of creamy rice pudding, with crunchy almond slices, fragrant pistachios made this a yummy dessert and I’m so glad I gave it another chance.

So I hope I’ve convinced you to check out this restaurant – be sure to make a reservation, I hope you like it as much as we did!

Afghan Horsemen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Three Strikes You’re Out

IMG_20160110_205933What: Chicken Red Curry and Lardna
Where: Nida’s Thai on High in Columbus, Ohio
Cuisine: Thai food
Affordability: $15-20

During my 6 months in Columbus, Ohio, I’ve had to privilege of dining on an expense account on a weekly basis. Some people may immediately think “Wow I can order filet mignon everyday!”, but the truth is, nothing beats home cooked meals, even if its just boiling plain broccoli.

One of my first meals in Ohio was at Nida’s Thai on High. (It sounds like a funny name for a restaurant, but its actually quite clever because the restaurant was located on High Street). They offer thai food, sushi pho, and Thai inspired cocktails. We ordered the Lard Na – vegetable and tofu stir fry with a gooey sauce on top of wide clear noodles (top picture), and the classic thai red curry (bottom picture). We all agreed that the food was delicious and that we would definitely come back again.

So we went back a second time. Although the food wasn’t as good as it was that very first time, it was still good enough to make us want to go again. So we went back a third time. Unfortunately the service was really slow, and the food wasn’t good at all. I recently learned to cook thai curry at home, and I feel like I can cook a better curry than the one I ordered that day – it was super watery and bland. As a group, we decided that that would probably be the last time we visited this place.

Side note, every time we went to this restaurant, there would always be a table next to us where the people seemed to be on their first date. So perhaps its a good place to take your date? Just be prepared for the usual bit of awkwardness or great eavesdropping, depending on which table you’re at!

 

Nida's Thai on High Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy New Year!

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What: Caterpillar and Spicy Salmon Roll
Where: Sushi California
Cuisine: Japanese
Affordability: $10

Happy New Year foodies! It’s been way too long since we last posted anything, so as a new years resolution, my goal is to blog at least once a week. Fingers crossed that I’ll have time to keep up with this resolution!

Even with so many Japanese restaurants in Vancouver to choose from, Sushi California is one of those restaurants we keep going back to. It’s super conveniently located a block east from the Broadway Cambie Canada Line station, but be sure to arrive early as the place does not take reservations.

We ordered sashimi, spicy salmon roll, caterpillar roll, and a udon soup and the bill was only $30! The sashimi slabs are huge and fresh, and you can even place half-orders if desired. My favorite was the caterpillar roll as the avocado on top was creamy and the tempura shrimp was crunchy inside. The spicy salmon roll is cheap, but the salmon-to-spicy sauce ratio was off and I’ve had better spicy mayo elsewhere.

Overall, a great place to meet up with friends to grab a quick bite and fill that sushi craving!

Sushi California Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato