205 – 3355 North Road
As alluded to at the end of this previous post, the meal journey of that day was far from over. In fact, it continued along the same chicken wing theme, as we ventured along the streets towards the Burnaby-Coquitlam border. After being rebuffed at Mexican Chicken Hof and Honey’s Bistro since they were both not open for the day, we decided on a longer journey out to Port Moody to check out Rehanah’s Roti.
But suddenly out of the corner of our eye we saw the humorous signage for Chicken Party.
A quick lane change and entry into the parking lot where this business was housed. Was it some kind of party house stocked with poultry-themed costumes? An exclusive entertainment club for chicken farmers?
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.
House of Wings Restaurant And Lounge
Sports on big screens + beer + wings. A trademark trio of any proud joint that offers the key staples that satisfy the average athletics loving, red-blooded Canadian male when out for some drinks with the boys. Throw in some pretty girls as service staff and a win for the home team, and you pretty much have paradise. Yes, men are easy to please.
With the Canucks season long over, the tv sports scene is in a state of limbo, as its still early in the MLB season and football is still months away, so the likes of MMA (such as last night’s UCF 114, and the upcoming UFC 115 in Vancouver) are what keep most of these places busy with thirsty customers on a late weekend evening. And to fill the seats before the rush, is that phenomenon called happy hour (with 37 cent wings).
With a name like House of Wings, frankly they better do a good job with these chicken appendages. As the other wings place down the road was busy with a public fund raising event, it became the default choice for this quick stop with tee.
618 S Weller Street
The International District of Seattle is sort of a dodgy place in the very late evening hours. Whenever I’m there, I always get accosted by some homeless folk, and it happened again this time strolling through there seeking a place to eat. As we navigated the streets and noticed that we were approaching the closing time of several restaurants in the area, we quickly popped into a familiar sight from Vancouver – a Vietnamese pho joint.
According to the company’s website, “in 1983, the first Pho Hoa restaurant opened in San Jose with a tiny kitchen and a few seats”. Its now branched out to many other areas across North America and surprisingly even into some countries in Asia. Not really knowing this, it was kind of strange to run into the familiar signage on the streets of this city in the Pacific Northwest.
It seemed that we were not the only ones with some late night hunger pains, as inside the place was occupied with a few larger groups of Asian youths. With some pressure to get our orders into the kitchen before they gave up on the night, we began with a duo of spring rolls – one deep fried, the other fresh. In hindsight, I suppose ordering anything cooked in a vat of hot oil at the end of a restaurant’s business hours is not wise, as the oil is probably very stale and infused with a lot of impurities. I didn’t notice any foul scent nor was it overly colored, so it seemed like we lucked out.
Caffé Vita Coffee Roasting Company
813 5th Ave N
There is just something innate about living on the we[s]t coast that seems to drive the people here into the warm embrace of a welcoming hot cup of good coffee more so then perhaps other parts of the continent. Some sources peg Seattle as averaging about 160 days of the year with a measurable rainfall and getting 92cm of the wet stuff per year (compare that to say Los Angeles, which receives just 30cm). No wonder this gem in the Pacific Northwest is often referred to as Rain City.
An unproven theory that I hold is that when the outdoors are unpleasant but still tantalizingly temperate enough to make one long to be outside in non-rainy weather, it makes for an ideal environment for the development of a strong network of neighborhood cafés. For what better way to pine for better weather and gaze outside at it hoping for a shift in Mother Nature, than in the company of friends and neighbors, all huddled together in a homey place buzzing with the hum of active conversation that signify the free sharing of thoughts and ideas, with everyone sipping on a cup of aromatic and deep flavored coffee.
Does that paint a warm and fuzzy picture? I sure hope it does…
Doing a quick scan of the online community for some favored coffee houses in Seattle produces a plethora of results. Luckily, I left this legwork to my traveling companion and we found that we were starting our day in a neighborhood with one on the list nearby. Good for us, as we both needed an early caffeine jolt to get started that morning. And so with that, we quickly made our way to Caffé Vita in the Queen Anne section of town, and found it nestled into a quiet street-side building, across from some newer condominiums. Apparently, this location was the original base (established in 1995) of this four-café operation, which also has its own roasterie.
Speed’s Neighbourhood Pub
4943 Chisholm Street
Ever felt like you were about twenty years too early for something? Sort of like the complete opposite of a Hot Tub Time Machine misadventure. Well, that’s what we felt like on a random stopover for a quick pint while driving out in the netherworld of Delta.
Located right on the river’s edge opposite Lander Harbour Park and northwest of the Ladner town site, it has a decent view of some docks and the natural water fowl that populates the area. But the clientele in this area is pretty much above my age bracket – easily most people were in their fifties/sixties, with a distinct blue collar, country feel about them. In a way, it felt like we were intruding on their home turf. The exasperated sound of the curt waitresses’ voice after we inquired about what’s on tap, just seemed to explain everything to us – you had to be known and local to really fit in here.
1690 Robson St
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.