7624 6th Street
Another completely random, TOFTT kind of outing. As I dug up the Urban Spoon reference for the address to be included in this posting, I was amused to see that someone had beaten me to this place – er, make that rather bewildered that somebody had actually decided on their own to have a meal here before my impromptu visit. Surprise, surprise, it was none other than the adventurous author of I’m Only Here for the Food!
Chicken Delight only stood out as I drove by looking for a quick daytime bite to eat because of its gaudy, outdated colorful signage. You know the kind, complete with windows plastered over in uncoordinated posters trumpeting various deals, combos and specials you can get inside. A funny thing though, after I stepped inside (and became the only customer) I learned that one of the items on their posters wasn’t even available. False advertising at its finest. Its you can’t order it, take it down please.
Over the years, I can say I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made it to the front of the line at a Japadog stand and ordered something to eat. If I were to add the occasions when I saw a lineup and avoided it all together despite wanting a ‘dog and the instances when I’ve actually gotten into the queue only to give up part way through due to time (and my thorough disdain for standing in lineups), I would need all the digits on both hands and feet. With this in mind, upon hearing that the minds behind this incredible food business success story began planning and finally were able to open the doors to their first non-cart venture, I was anxious to see what the setup would be, as well as the new menu offerings…
However, my trips to the downtown core and becoming few and far between of late, as I simply detest the traffic (the auto and human kind inclusive). Perhaps its the slowly warming weather that’s making me testy when I have to dodge traffic on both the roads and sidewalks – as well as growing numbers of out-of-town tourists gawking at maps, suddenly stopping and pulling suitcases too if you ask me. But in spite of these obstacles and mental anguish, I decided to bite the bullet and see if the storm of their launch had subsided somewhat, which would enable me to place and order and get my food and spend as little time as possible waiting as I could. Choosing a sunny Saturday afternoon when other people had the same idea apparently, was what destroyed my dream of a quick in-and-out visit.
Hakkasan Contemporary Chinese Cuisine
110-2188 #5 Road
Taking a cuisine with the length and depth of history that Chinese cooking has and making bold adjustments and giving it a contemporary twist in an environment like Richmond, that is stocked with a multitude of restaurant choices from the east Asia region. must be acknowledged for its bravery. Hakkasan does just that with their aim of bringing the visual impact of traditional Chinese dishes and ingredients to the forefront, in this out-of-the-way location in an industrial/commercial district of this waterside city. Supported by an eye-catching website and a rotation of various special and tasting menus (with no fear about raising some culinary sustainability flags by showcasing one right now on shark’s fin), this sleek operation has found a way to rise above the field and make some inroads with the local food loving community.
The regular dinner menu is separated out into groupings that one would normally find with Chinese restaurant menus (e.g. by protein, rice/noodle, dessert, etc.) but without the numerical references that go into the hundreds that you can find on occasion at those all-purpose Chinese places that try to cater to a very generic audience. After being seated and examining our choices, including the higher priced promotional tasting menus, my dining partner and I settled on the monthly dining special – priced at around $29/person.
Cockney Kings Fish & Chips
1005 Columbia St
New Westminster, BC
The relative newness of the building that contrasted against the old school script of the signage was what grabbed my attention the first time I laid eyes on Cockney Kings, during a visit to the burger joint across the street. While the distinct scent of deep frying goodies permeated the air, we stuck with our mission of getting some ‘burgs, and I had to save a visit here for a later day. I thought it would be fitting to squeeze this one in now, following last night’s uploading of a fish & chip meal.
For those who are travelers to the north side of Burnaby, there is another outlet of Cockney Kings up there, which I assume is the older, original one. I’ve only driven by myself perhaps twice and seen it after my visit to this New West branch.
22137 Township Road 530
Strathcona County, AB
Seeking out the rare and unusual is something we strive to do here onfoodosophy. The information on such spots can come from various researched sources or personal recommendations, but at times its also just pure circumstance and random finds that lead us to these discoveries. An impromptu drive out in rural Alberta just outside the city of Edmonton resulted in one such outing recently… Katie’s Crossing.
Part diner, part antique attraction and facility, along this long connection of train cars is where you can find the cramped order counter and kitchen emitting the smells of cooking food. Converted from an actual steam engine train, the novelty of opening the still operational heavy iron door to access the counter is a real treat. For those who grew up as fans of modes of transportation like this, it never gets old.
Its been said many times, but there is something special about the big blue skies of summer in Alberta. On a recent visit to Edmonton, I had the pleasure of driving around a bit, seeing some rural and urban landscapes that reminded me of how great the scenery can be where there isn’t that abundance of grey clouds and gloomy rainy weather that dominates the west coast in June. I guess that has something to do with the large quantities of great produce and livestock product that comes out of this oil-rich province. Good eats under sunny skies, what could be better!
During my stay, I made a completely random jaunt to 97th street just north of the downtown core of Edmonton that resulted in a trio of stops all within the span of about an hour! While the Alberta capital’s Chinatown isn’t as pronounced nor expansive of say Vancouver’s version, it does have some of the same classical appeal and is worth checking out. Alas, this early Saturday morning resulted in stopovers at least than traditional Chinese places for the most part, but hope you can follow the story…
Hudsons Canadian Tap House (Campus location)
11113 87 Avenue
An impromptu rush out to catch the start of the World Cup match on the first Friday of the tournament led myself and a buddy to a nearby pub on the University of Alberta campus. Funny, I used to remember this location as another drinking hole, ironically called The Library in years gone by. It was once we stepped inside that I understood it was part of the Hudsons chain – the first outlet on Whyte Avenue another former stomping ground on yours truly in yesteryear. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but see now that its grown to five location in Edmonton and also one in Calgary.
Sticking with the Canadian theme of this establishment, I opted for a standard domestic draught to wet the whistle as we settled in to watching the game. We were stuck in the basement however which resulted in a very dark space. My pal enjoyed the views of the attractive, perky, young waitress however, that seem to be the norm of places like this and she was working hard for a big tip. Continue reading →
Without significant commentary or respectable photographs to complete more solo posts on establishments visited earlier this month on a trip to Calgary, I thought I’d quickly sum up a few thoughts on a trio of places to wrap up this busy week…
Sushi Bar Zipang
1010 1 Ave NE
Its unfortunate, but even those places that were once held in good regard – and for sushi in a place like Calgary – for me, it was Zipang out in Bridgeland – times can change. It used to be the best of a mediocre lot. ‘Big fish in a small pond’ for sushi kind of thing. On a recent return to the southern Alberta city, I made my way down to their sushi bar again for a quick early dinner, hoping that I could get an acceptable showing from them as in previous years…
Inside it was pretty packed, busier than I usually remembered it being. I guess word has gotten out that it (was) decent. I did notice that the guys behind the counter were different from the fellows who served me in the past – younger and seemingly less experienced. Families and groups of friends seemed to be the general clientele on this weekday dinner session and there was a good buzz in the room of conversation. However, once some folks departed the lack of any kind of soft toned music playing in the background reduced the place to an almost eerie environment, which could probably use some improvement.
Mavericks Dining Room and Lounge
Calgary Stampede Grounds
Large scale gatherings and events of the commercial variety are usually an impersonal affair. Interacting with strangers, in big crowds amid long hours of making introductions and face-to-face networking result in meals being forgotten about until your stomach growls in protest. Fortunately (or perhaps not) often tied to these shows and meetings are facilities to feed countless individuals on-site, mainly latching onto the captive audience who is seeking out convenience in order to get back to the work at hand. At a recent one, I was faced with this dilemma of being shepherded into the closest and easily accessible mass feeding zone on the Calgary Stampede Grounds. For $21.95, the lunch buffet at Mavericks drew a long lineup through the 11am – 1pm time period, resulting in at least a ten minute wait time just to get to the front of the line and seated.
On this particular day, the all-you-can-eat menu was: soup, salad, AAA carved Alberta roast beef, penne chicken alfredo, barbecue beef ribs, Swedish meatballs, teriyaki chicken, and baked lasagna. After being led to our table and announcing that we were all-in with the buffet, we made our way down to the main floor and got into yet another queue for the feast. Given the huge dining contingent, I would have figured they would have expanded to accommodate at least a pair of routes through the heated-up food pans, but alas it looked like how it is set up on a normal capacity day. I think this helped explain why there was a lineup to just get in, despite the obvious sight of unoccupied tables.
Han Sung BBQ
2644 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
The stretch of El Camino Real in Santa Clara, CA, is a few miles long and home to one of the densest regions of Korean restaurants in North America. Here, critical mass has been reached and an entire ecosystem of supermarkets, bars, clubs, video stores as well as countless soon tobu and Korean barbecue places (and much more, I’m sure, if I could only read Korean) has evolved. This handily solves the question of where one goes to get Korean food in the Bay Area south of San Francisco or Oakland. The harder question is which place to choose?
Han Sung BBQ is one of many non-descript store fronts in Moebius strip mall land. What distinguishes it from the other barbecue places is simple: real wood charcoal. Not that gas nonsense, but the real deal. The whole place is perfumed with this scent despite the fierce ventilation system (note: I’ve read that HSB has recently completed a re-model which most people seem to give a big thumbs up, so I imagine a few strata of soot have been scrubbed from the walls in the process). The wonderful aroma of the charcoal when it arrives at your table… well, I’m getting ahead of myself.
#240 – 329 North Road
Mi-Ae Deli as the English name of this business is called, is another Korean eatery in the commercial complex near the popular H-Mart grocery store at the North Road/Lougheed Highway junction of Coquitlam, BC. I’ve personally only been aware of it for around two years now, and its a place I’ve visited several times since for a quick meal. My initial step inside this place was after I had discovered they offered some classic Korean-Chinese dishes and I was on the hunt for jajangmyeon (blackbean noodles).
It can get quite hectic inside, and lineups are not unusual, especially on weekends. Step right in though and you can generally give your order to the woman at the counter, and they will have your food ready quicker when a table eventually opens up.Service overall is quite limited (no useless chitchat), but fast.
Panaderia Latina Bakery
4906 Joyce Street
Empanadas. It seems its my “thing” of the past year in terms of something to eat that I’ve deliberately sought out more often than any other food. In doing so, I’ve had a few differenttakes on it. But in the end, I think I’m really all about the salty, savoury taste that only a delicious melted cheese inside can provide.
As luck would have it, after my takeaway package from Bo Laksa King was ready to go, I popped over next door to see if there was anything worthwhile at Panaderia, and sure enough they had empanadas. I’m sure I’m not alone in doing this double-header of meals on this street corner just up the way from Joyce Skytrain station.
Hosoonyi Tofu Restaurant
23830 Highway 99
Diverting off the I-5 near Lake Ballinger and hitting the Pacific (or #99) Highway, passing by what seems to be an endless number of places that are in love with the flavour of teriyaki, you can discover a fairly well known Korean restaurant called Hosoonyi that specializes in sundubu jjigae. This spicy hot stew is a classic dish in Korea, eaten for lunch or dinner, alongside a bowl of steamed white rice and of course, the usual roundup of side dishes (banchan). So with the good things I’d heard about it, I was quite excited to have a meal here on a return trip from Seattle.
From the outside, it looks nothing particularly spectacular, nestled inside a secluded complex housing other eateries such as what I believe was either a Vietnamese pho place or a bubble tea shop. There is a decent sized parking lot surrounding the area for customers, as it seems a vehicle is required for getting here. At the dinner hour, the room was quite full of customers, young and old, singles and families. Usually a good and reliable sign that the food is good.
Unit 100, 7515 Market Crossing
Easily accessible. Reasonable prices. And quick service. I think those conditions come to mind when one thinks of fast food in general. Fresh? Perhaps less of a consideration for most, amid all the burger, fried chicken and pizza joints that abound these days catering to the masses.
Our colleague Foodosopher previous wrote about Mucho Burrito in Edmonton, Alberta. And so when I spotted it had opened up what I believe is their first B.C. location in the Market Crossing area of south Burnaby’s growing community, I decided to grab a fast meal-to-go as I was driving by on Marine Way. I did have a faint recollection of his visit, that did deal with the “Fresh Mex” aspect of this franchise-focused operation, although I knew I wasn’t in the mood for a burrito the size of my forearm.