Rikka Japanese Kitchen – New Westminster, BC


Rikka Japanese Kitchen
28 – 8th Street
New Westminster, BC
(604) 521-3391

Oozing simplicity from its pores, beginning with the subdued decor and partitioned dining space, Rikka Japanese Kitchen is situated not far from the entrance to the New Westminster SkyTrain station.   As a result, the characters outside the restaurant are on the doggy side, and its clear some of those scraggly folks are trying to treat the nearby businesses are their own personal washrooms (signage in place telling them its just for customers) and kitchens (e.g. while I was waiting for my meal to be brought to my table, a strung out woman came bursting in and started aggressively shuffling around the sushi bar counter and then loudly demanded “where’s your plastic forks!?”).

With the lunchtime business seemingly one of their major draws, given the dozen or so price friendly ($8~$9) options, I had made my way there for a sit down meal.  Parking is a bit iffy, so if you drive, I suggest you try to find one on the road a block or two along 8th where they have yet to install parking meters.  A sandwich board outside on the sidewalk is their main promotional tool for these lunch deals, so don’t be surprised if you’re not the only one drawn in.

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Joe’s Atlantic Grill – Port Moody, BC


Joe’s Atlantic Grill
2410 St. John’s Street
Port Moody, BC
(604) 931-8765

Unfamiliar town.  No map.  One main street.

Sounds like a perfect recipe for either a wonderful random discovery or a tremendous let down.  “Wonder what it will be this time” I thought, after we parked the car and did a quick walk along St. John’s Street.  Passing by the Caribbean-flavoured Rehanah’s Roti, spotting the Filipino Rosario and seeing a ubiquitous Japanese restaurant during our stroll, we quickly nixed the ethnic options for something a little more closer to home.

As we came to Joe’s Atlantic Grill that resides in an older building in this part of Port Moody, on what seems to be the major thoroughfare that cuts through this community, we scanned inside as well as the posted menu by their door and figured it couldn’t hurt.  Some late-morning grub/early lunch was what we wanted and it seemed safe enough.

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Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House – Burnaby, BC


Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House
8681 10th Ave
Burnaby, BC
(604) 527-8138

Branching out and exploring new cuisines and ingredients I believe is part of the appeal of doing what we do, as I’m sure other regular food bloggers will attest.  Vegetarian cooking is one that I’m not wildly enthusiastic about, because let’s face it, carnivorous dining is where it’s at.

So you can imagine the hesitation or perhaps curiosity that was swirling around in my mind, when I decided to drop into a visibly named vegetarian establishment that served up Vietnamese food.  Would it be a new found paradise for me, as their namesake showed, I just had to find out for myself.

With blinds obstructing the view inside, as well as the sun’s glare off the front windows, I wasn’t sure what waited for me inside the Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House.  Upon entering, I found several tables already occupied.  By what looked like a middle aged man and his elderly father, another had a trio of big young gents dressed in utilities worker overalls, and then a group of four office workers.  And everyone was being attended to by this petite smiling woman, who was hustling back and forth from the kitchen.

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Midam Rice Cake House – Burnaby, BC


Midam Rice Cake House
#110 – 4501 North Road
Burnaby, BC
(604) 568-5357

Not a dessert man, am I.  But after a hearty meal of Korean-style barbecue, we took a short walk down the stairs from the second level of this commercial complex to close out our dinner with some sweets at another establishment.

I only had a faint recollection of this place from a previous walk around and approaching 9:30pm, I wasn’t sure I’d get my chance as I reckoned that the closing hour was near.  Luckily, there was still thirty minutes on the clock and the employees inside were welcoming and gave no sense they were in a hurry to wrap up.

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Ramen Santouka – Vancouver, BC


Ramen Santouka
1690 Robson St
Vancouver, BC
(604) 681-8121

I had to dig deep into my computer hard drive to make this an almost all-cellphone picture post. 🙂

The Shibuya (Tokyo, Japan) outlet of Santouka was the site of my first taste of this delicious tonkotsu-shio base ramen originating out of the northern island of Hokkaido.  The distinct mini-ume that sits in the middle of the bowl will always remain in my mind, as the signature topping at Santouka.

As I’d already touched on the history and background of this popular Japanese ramen chain when I visited one of their non-Japan based outlets in Hong Kong, I’ll skip that here.  Instead, I’ll mention that for this newly opened Vancouver location, I saw clear indications on the job posting boards in Vancouver for Japanese ex-pats mentioning Santouka coming here as far back as last summer.  So I knew that they would eventually be here and I anxiously awaited where they might end up setting up shop.

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Burger Heaven – New Westminster, BC


Burger Heaven
77 10th Street
New Westminster, BC
(604) 522-8339

East side, West side?  What does it all matter when we all live a thug’s life.

Foodosophy reader Tee and I often joke about the reputation that certain places in the GVRD hold and New West is sometimes the target of our remarks about the madness that occupies some young people’s lives in their quest to get rich quick, and how sadly they end up living that lifestyle for only a very short time before they are “eliminated”.

Overcoming any “fears” we have of traveling out to this place via the sometimes sketchy Skytrain, we ended up at this mecca for burgers, otherwise known as Burger Heaven.  With a long tradition of serving up this North American classic – I recall our server saying they’ve been at it for 26 years – we knew that it was worth checking out.  Open at 11am daily, it was the early afternoon when we stepped inside and several tables were occupied.

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Anatolia’s Gate – Burnaby, BC


Anatolia’s Gate
7084 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
(604) 525-2519

On my visits to this building which also houses Nao Sushi, I had often seen Anatolia’s Gate to be a busy place with customers inside, including many who visually seemed to have ethnic ties to the Arabic world – always a good sign when those who probably know best are eating inside.  Promising myself I’d come back to visit, I did a while ago and got a take away dinner to go.  With less than thirty minutes before closing time, the trio of employees who were still there were quite accommodating as I took my time perusing the menu full of Middle Eastern delights.   I was happy to see the wood burning oven out front was still churning out a warm glow, but just to be sure I asked if the full menu was still available, and I was told that indeed it was.  Perfect!

However, broken up into the following sections, there was a lot to choose from within each:

a) Cold Starters & Salads
b) Hot Starters, Wraps
c) Kabob Sofrasi
d) Steaks, Oven Dishes
e) Gourmet Pizzas & Sweets

Sharing between two people, I could expand on the selections somewhat, more so than if I was eating for one.

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Smoking Water Coffee Co. – Fairmont Hot Springs, BC


Smoking Water Coffee Co.
4985 Hot Springs Road
Fairmont Hot Springs, BC
(250) 345-4008‎

Years ago my gullible self was suckered into purchasing a timeshare, and every year I find myself receiving a letter informing me that my unused points will expire in a couple months.  This subsequently prompts me to search online for some last minute resorts close to home so I don’t let too many points go to waste.

Fairmont Hot Springs, located in BC’s Columbia Valley, has the largest network of timeshare resorts in Canada – which made it easy to get a spot on this particular week.  As we enjoyed an unusually warm winter this year, this trip turned out to be quite nice.

Arriving just after lunch – we stopped into this cozy cafe for a quick bite and a coffee.

I will admit, that I am not the biggest coffee connoisseur, but there was something about this latte that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The extra wide cup always seemed odd to me (from a thermodynamics point of view), but I’m sure someone has a theory that it affects the flavour.  Regardless, after our six hour road trip, this hit the spot perfectly.

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Foodosophy – My Gift to You This Weekend


While I wish I had a stunning review (there are many new restaurants out there worth talking about), a topical subject (the failure to ban Bluefin Tuna exports from the Atlantic for example), or something really interesting to share with you this weekend, I don’t. What I have for you is the gift of perspective.

You see, I’ve temporarily lost my sense of taste. When it will come back, doctors have no idea. 5 days? 10 days? Weeks? Some people report a year or two!

Food has pretty much no appeal to me. I can’t taste anything. I can’t tell if something is salty, or flavourful. I couldnt tell the difference between Batali and Olivieri. Between the tenderness of calf moose, or rotting beef. I can feel textures and acidity – astringent, “warmth”, mushy, firm but there is no taste. I thought i tasted banana today, but i think it was taste memory playing tricks on me. I tried eating garlic – to see if it would kick start my tastebuds. Now the people around me suffer as well.

So appreciate what you have. Great food, or slightly mediocre, a shared meal, or a quiet moment alone with a bowl of soup – appreciate the smell of roasting meat, the freshness of greenery, the warmth of a simmering pot, the bright smells of citrus, and the lowly smells of compost. Because without a sense of smell or taste, there is no enjoyment in food at all. And without enjoyment in food, this bond we all share, whether we agree or disagree on a given review, doesn’t exist. It’s a lonely place, feeling disconnected from something we’re all so passionate about. May you never have to experience it.

The 5 Tuns – London, UK


The 5 Tuns Pub & Kitchen
Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport
London, UK
(020) 8283 5065
Hours: 5:30am – last departing flight

And so I was on my way back home to Canada…

Heathrow Airport follows the rigid mold of too many poorly thought out transportation hubs – overpriced and bad food, many tacky souvenir shops and of course long, long lines.  Now normally I’d ease the pain and boredom that comes with waiting for my flight by either a) finding a comfy chair in the Star Alliance lounge or b) hitting the bar.  But since I was flying with BA, option a. was out of the realm of possibility so off I went in a quest for the nearest place to get some suds.  Unfortunately, the week of very little sleep had gotten me down and I was afraid I’d get real sleepy drinking alone and it made me reconsider what I was doing.

With its welcoming feel and design, the 5 Tuns Pub & Kitchen on the top floor level of Terminal 5 was my chosen place to hunker down after my taxi ride in.  I’d asked a security guard what my options were and this seemed the best of the lot.  Frankly, there really isn’t much choice for food and drink outside of the security barrier at the airport where you can still gather with those not going on flights.   There’s a couple more inside past all the screening but not that extraordinary in their offerings and more expensive since they have you trapped inside.  With a football game on the tele, I figured it would do as I arrived with time to spare and needed to get me a bite to eat before dealing with the prolonged formalities of checking in.

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Karma – London, UK


Karma
44 Blythe Road
London, UK
(020) 7602 9333
Open 7 days a week
Lunch: noon to 2:30pm / Dinner: 5:30pm to 11:30pm

What Comes Around, Goes Around.  Karma.

How fitting that a fine dining, Indian restaurant entrench itself in the posh neighborhood of West Kensington in London and more importantly, in the home country of the former colonizer of the ancient lands known as Mother India.  Striking out from the nearby buildings with its bold dark colored facade that stretches around a strip on Blythe Road, even the entrance to this lauded restaurant exudes a confident position entrenched right on the street corner.  My how times have changed.

For its hard not to notice the incredible influx of India cuisine and cooking in many aspects of UK life.  From fast food stands, hole-in-the-wall eateries all the way up to white table cloth establishments such as this place, the vast flavors, textures and rich aromas of Indian food has clearly been accepted by the locals and is now considered one of its appeals.  I’m sure you’ve all heard how much good Indian you can get in London nowadays.  Some even go as far as to say the best you can find outside of India.

Well, I had to discover this for myself…

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foodography – english breakfast, london hotel-style


In stark contrast in both volume as well as price (five times more!) to the English Breakfast I had the previous day, I had to have a very early morning, room-service delivered meal before heading out of my hotel room by 6am, as I had a very long day in the city of London.

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George’s Cafe – London, UK


George’s Cafe
36 Blythe Road
London, UK
(020) 7603 5262

The West Kensington neighborhood I found to be an interesting place to stroll around.  Mainly functioning as a residential area, its streets were relatively quiet during the day and empty aside from the passing commuters on their way to work.  And at night, a slightly eerie silence engulfed the streets as I meandered about with my camera and only saw a few folks out walking their dogs in the darkness.  For fans of classic architecture, being in this place makes for a lot of neck craning, with all of the attractive multiple-level, terraced Victorian-style buildings.  I noted a few for-sale signs posted outside some flats, no doubt not the cheapest place to buy real estate in town.  I thought it would be fantastic to live in a neighborhood like this, with plentiful access to transit and assorted shops and eateries located nearby.

One morning, jet-lagged and finding myself awake at 5am despite only turning the lights off in my room just four hours earlier, I took part in a must-do activity in London – have a hearty English breakfast. Near an Underground station was a simple greasy spoon that served just that, and I happily stepped inside George’s Cafe.

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Balans Café – London, UK


Balans Café
Unit 1034, Southern Terrace
Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way
London, UK
+44 020 8600 3320

Open every day for lunch and dinner
Monday – Friday & Sunday: 9:00am – 11:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am – 11:00pm

The London Underground, also affectionately known as “the Tube”, is a convenient way to navigate the city when you are car-less in London.  Ironically, not all of the rail network is even below ground.  With its distinct logo, the stations are easy to pick out from the street, making for effective navigation by tourists and locals alike.

In the West London district is an area called Shepherd’s Bush.  Walking around the green park common area, I found it had an interesting character – with a balanced mixture of small businesses and eateries, outlets of larger corporations, entertainment complexes and residences.  As I made my way up and down the streets, just exploring on my won, I saw an assortment of people, some young, some old, some working class and some dressed up like they have a white collar office job.  With the large hub of transportation (including a large bus terminal), the area seemed to my novice eyes as a transit-heavy spot, with intersecting modes and lines of transport shutting people into and out of the core of London city.

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Foodosophy of British Food


Quickly now, what comes to your mind when you hear the words French Cuisine?

For me, fine dining, regional, and an assortment of French translations for common ingredients that are clearly the fading remnants of my eight plus years of childhood education in the language come rushing out at me.

Now do the same for say, Italian or Chinese.  I’m sure strong images pop into your mind, mainly of the favorable variety, including some great dishes or full meals you’ve had associated with the countries from which they came.

And how about British food?

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