Zaytinya – Washington, DC


Zaytinya
#701 9th Street NW
Washington, DC
(202) 638-0800

Hi readers!

As I am sure many of you are aware, the northeastern States have endured quite a few battles with Mother Nature this summer – including some blistering hot heat waves, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, and Hurricane Irene.  Fortunate for me, I was only around for one of those events and managed to get safely in and out of the nation’s capital, and enjoyed some good eating along the way.  While this will be a pictureless-post due to my not wanting to whip out my cell phone during this particular meal, I still wanted to put some thoughts down and share my experience at Zaytinya, which offers Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisine.

Mediterranean cooking is not something I indulge in a great deal but when I do, I am always pleasantly surprised by the boldness of flavors that can be captured by a talented kitchen.  In the case of Zaytinya, their celebrated chef is José Andrés, recently named this past spring as an “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation at their annual awards gala in New York City.  The restaurant is clearly on the popular destination list by locals and visitors alike.  Without a proper reservation, we had to wait a little while at the bar (where you can still get food), before a table opened up for us later in the night.

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Shibuyatei – Richmond, BC


Shibuyatei
#125, 2971 Sexsmith Road
Richmond, BC
To be confirmed: (604) 779-0053

Simple is best.  An adage that applies to many things in this thing called life, including something we all love, food.  Lately, I’ve been all about uncomplicated flavors and limited combinations of ingredients that tell a story on my taste buds.  Smart cookery and unpretentious offerings are my current targets when it comes to dining out.  Give me something that’s comforting too and well you’ve got something right in my wheelhouse.  An old stalwart, Japanese ramen, is right up there in my favorite foods of all time.

I’d been notified in July that a new operation was about to set up shop at a busy intersection in Richmond, formerly occupied by a sandwich business.  The end of July marked their opening and as a few weeks had passed (and having received some insights from members granted a pre-opening audience) I finally made my way out for a lunchtime meal.  Inside, remnants of the previous tenant were apparent from the still fresh business handover, with some temporary signage hung outside for the Tokyo-style of ramen being produced by Shibuyatei.

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Fraser Park Restaurant – Burnaby, BC


Fraser Park Restaurant
4663 Byrne Road
Burnaby, BC
(604) 433-7605

I’ve now had five separate meals at this surprisingly popular establishment (considering its location!) and felt it was time to weigh in with a post to join the multitude that exist about it when I look at the listing on Urbanspoon.  Meals during the morning breakfast hours as well as closer to the noon lunch time service have given me a good sense of what can be had here (with a sampling of some photos below).  And to sum it up simply, its a lot!  Portion sizes are truly on the generous size.  Perhaps fitting for the hard labour, blue collar working folks who I see frequenting the establishment often, mixed in with some people who obviously don’t work in the industrial businesses that populate this stretch of Byrne Road but are here simply for a hearty meal.

Through the regular menu items and the daily specials, a few have stood out for me in terms of the excitement upon ordering them, having them brought out in front of me so my eyes could understand what I was in for, and then of course the tasting of each dish.   I’ve sheepishly mentioned this place around to various people in my circles and have even brought some of them with me to eat.  The look on their faces when we pull into the parking lot says it all, its the last place they thought I’d bring them too.  Thankfully the food saves me each and every time.  As I’ve never had any complaints walking out about their disappointment with any of the meals.

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