Archive for the ‘Casual’ Category

Having done Dine Out Vancouver for so many years now, frankly I’m feeling burnout. To me, a lot of the menus are not very inspiring; or I question the value for the money. So this year, I set out to try to discover gems that don’t require you to pay $40 yet still feel hungry afterwards.

I was invited to bring a guest (guess whom I brought?) to sample the Dine Out menu of a Donnelly Group restaurant of my choice, including wine pairings. They are all $20 menus. After perusing them, I decided on the Granville Room. Why? I will get to that in a moment.


There are two choices for appetizer. Naturally, we ordered one of each. The Coconut Fried Prawns were nice and crunchy. Mr. (ding-ding!) thought the coating was too thick to taste the prawns but I thought it’s okay. The prawns had good texture, a bit bouncy and not mushy. What’s intriguing is the dipping sauce. It’s a coconut hoisin sauce. When it said hoisin I expected the sauce to be darker in colour, but it’s just a tinted creamy white colour. It had a lot of coconut flavour but it’s not too sweet thanks to the subtle use of hoisin sauce. The prawns themselves did not have any coconut; it’s all in the sauce.

Wine pairing: Desert Hills Viognier – The fried prawns actually mellowed out the acidity in the viognier.

Coconut Fried Prawns

Beef Rib Empanada was also a hand-held appy. There were two pieces on the plate, served with a mole sauce. The sauce was rich, thick, and had some smokey flavour that didn’t overpower everything. (more…)


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[Editor’s Note: Keep scrolling past the delicious food pics for a meat-sweaty giveaway!]

Mechanical bull, southern BBQ, country music…do they all exist in one place in Vancouver? Yep, Yale Saloon.

I was invited to a tasting at Yale Saloon, featuring their southern style BBQ selections. Right away at the door I was greeted by a mechanical bull. Then country musicians, the front-end of an old Chevy pick-up, and a moose head mounted on the wall.

Yale Saloon Yale Saloon Yale Saloon

We got to sample a number of items on the menu:

  • Pulled Pork Tacos
  • Cauliflower “Wings”
  • Bite Sized Brisket
  • Texas Smoked Spare Ribs
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Smoked Chicken Wings
  • Potato Salad
  • Nacho

BBQ menu at Yale Saloon

My favourite bites were the Pulled Pork Tacos; the meat was flavourful and juicy. The Cauliflower “Wings” — which are supposed to be the veggie substitute for wings — were surprisingly tasty. They had a nice tang, spicy, almost reminded me of buffalo wings. On the other hand, the real Smoked Chicken Wings had a good coating of BBQ sauce, yet the skin remained crispy. The Brisket and Spare Ribs also had good flavours. 

Texas Smoked Spare Ribs Smoked Chicken Wings Pulled Pork Tacos

Bite Sized Brisket Potato Salad

We also got to take home one of their Jalapeno Cornbread and it was very moist, with nice crumbs. One of the best cornbreads I’ve had around.

The restaurant has a nice, casual atmosphere. It’d make a good hang-out spot with friends on the weekend.

In case you are wondering, I didn’t get on the mechanical bull. I heard it’s fun, though, especially if you’re tipsy. Not recommended for when you’re drunk.

So, would you like to check out Yale Saloon? Here’s your chance:


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For those of you who follow me on social media, you would know that we took a trip to Vancouver Island. It was a pretty epic trip — travelled from Nanaimo to Port Hardy and San Josef Bay in the northwest corner, and everywhere in between — 2,300km in 9 days.

First stop, Nanaimo. It was brunch time when we arrived in Nanaimo. Downtown Nanaimo has no shortage of brunch options, and Gabriel’s Cafe caught my eyes. Gabriel’s is about eat local, farm to table.

Gabriel's Cafe, Nanaimo


Ordering wasn’t an easy task for me, because I was just recovering from a bad stomach flu. I had to pick something light so I avoided pulled pork, braised beef, or anything rich and heavy. I opted for the Breakfast #11 — Coconut Milk Pancakes with Roasted Apples, Seasonal Fruit and Yogurt. I thought coconut milk pancakes wouldn’t be too heavy and there would be a good dose of fruit on the plate. Haha the portion size was not for the faint of heart. (more…)

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Snowy Village opened its Coquitlam location in late December. The cold winter and rainy spring didn’t seem to stop people from getting their shaved ice/bingsoo fix. Everytime I went (3 times now, in the last 2 months), there was always a short lineup at the door.

So we noticed some new items on the menu – Mini Watermelon and Honeydew Bingsoo, Golden Cheese and Injeolmi Toasts, and Cheesy Mochy. Naturally, we gave some of these a try.


Cheesy Mochy sounds like a perfect item for the night market (by the way the two night markets are now open) and would make a nice savoury option here. There were 9 pieces of oblong shaped mochi, topped with gochujang sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan sprinkles. As I picked up the mochi ball I got a tiny bit of cheesy pull, but nothing Instagram worthy so to speak. The texture of the mochi ball was harder than I thought; not jaw breaking hard, but dense and chewy much like the ones at Korean restaurants. The mochi balls are stuffed, with what looks like cheese, but there was zero pull and nothing gooey ooey. And no flavour too! The gochujang sauce was good, sweet, slightly spicy, and with mochi balls they have formed a great combo. But, overall it was a bit underwhelming.

Cheesy Mochy

The Injeolmi Bingsoo is one of my favourite flavours so I was really curious about the Injeolmi Toast. It’s like thick toasts you find at Taiwanese restaurants. It was an almost inch-thick mochi sandwiched between two pieces of bread, toasted.

Injeolmi Toast

The heat of the freshly toasted bread melted the soybean powder on top so it kind of turned into a nutty syrup. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: Sorry we took a writing break, but it’s good to be back!]

When I was contacted by our friends at Ford Canada that I’d have a Ford Focus for a week, the hopeful boy racer in Mr. asked, “is it an ST? Is it a hatchback?”

As it turns out, it was neither. It was a fully loaded (Titanium) sedan with a pretty blue paint job.

Ford Focus Titanium 2017

It also happened to be the same week as we threw a surprise birthday weekend in Whistler for CL, one of Mr.‘s close friends. So we gave the Focus a thorough test on a 36-hour trip.

Ford Focus Titanium 2017

36 Hours in Whistler

We kicked off the weekend at Stonesedge Kitchen, where we surprised CL with a birthday brunch.

Stonesedge Kitchen Whistler

There were 6 of us – and there were 5 orders of Breakfast Poutine. Except for me, the adventurous one. I ordered the Woodsman’s Bowl, with pulled venison and roasted butternut squash. Let me just say, I was happy with my choice. There was a good combination of flavours and texture. The slightly gamey venison made the dish more interesting than the maple sausage in the Breakfast Poutine.

Breakfast Poutine, Stonesedge Kitchen WhistlerWoodsman's Bowl, Stonesedge Kitchen Whistler

Then, a stopover at Whistler Brewing.


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Planning a double date with WK and MS and man, was it difficult to decide where to go! We all love to eat and there are just too many options. We finally decided on Italian and chose Pronto Cafe on Cambie.


As a meat lover, I ordered the Porchetta Plate. I had this once at Pronto before and I really enjoyed the crispy skin and tender meat. This time around, the skin wasn’t crispy. In fact, it was a bit tough and chewy and not very pleasant to eat. Felt like it wasn’t rendered well so the skin couldn’t crisp up. That being said, the meat was still tender and flavoured nicely with herbs. Perhaps a tiny bit too dry for my liking, but the roasted pepper sauce helped. Part of the highlight on this plate was the roasted potatoes & yam – they were seasoned well with just simple rosemary, salt and pepper, and the natural sweetness in the yam really came through.

Porchetta Plate

Mr. always has a thing for gnocchi (and you should ask him how he used to pronounce “gnocchi”. It’s cute.), so when he saw Gnocchi with Pesto and Pancetta on the menu, he couldn’t keep his eyes away from it.

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There have been a number of shaved ice shops popping up around Vancouver. One of them is Snowy Village in Central Richmond. It’s been a few months and there’s still lineup out the door. Finally one Friday I was determined to try Snowy Village, whatever and however long it takes!

Taking Mama Lam and Papa Lam with me, we waited for 30 minutes before we were seated. We had ample time to study the menu, Instagram photos, and what other customers were eating, and we ordered a few things to try.


To start, the Taiyaki, the fish shaped waffle with filling. This is commonly found at night markets and I’ve seen them at Korean supermarkets as well as street carts. The texture of this Taiyaki is quite different from the other ones we’ve had around town because it uses croissant pastry. Other ones are more like Belgian waffle, crispy outside and fluffy inside. This Taiyaki is more like Leige waffle, more dense and chewy, and it had speckles of sugar on top. We went for the traditional red bean filling but the Taiyaki was rather thin so it didn’t hold a lot of filling inside. For that reason I think I prefer the fluffy kind, even though this one tasted really good and I quite liked the texture of the pastry.

Red Bean Taiyaki

As for the shaved ice, here they call it Bingsoo, a derivative of the Korean dessert (I think it stands for “iced water” in Korean). (more…)

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