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Archive for the ‘Casual’ Category

There’s a new food event in Vancouver that introduces us to some hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems in Railtown, while supporting a local charity. Running from November 1 to 30, Dine Railtown features nine restaurants in the Railtown neighbourhood, of which proceeds from the sale of their signature dish will be donated to support programming at the Powell Street Getaway, one of 42 sites operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

The nine restaurants include Ask For Luigi (love their pasta!), The Belgard Kitchen, Cuchillo, LanaLou’s Restaurant, The Mackenzie Room (one of my all-time faves!), Pallet Coffee Roaster, Railtown Cafe, St. Lawrence (maple syrup chicharon, hello?) and The Uncommon Cafe. I was invited to a media tour to visit 3 of the participating restaurants.

First up, the brand new Pallet Coffee Roaster. Opening its doors on November 4, this location is the new HQ of Pallet.

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We’ve been to Ramen Koika a few times over the years, to both locations on Davie and Robson. We always ended up ordering a ramen. The black garlic one was my favourite and Mr. fell in love with the beef ribs one. Little did we know the Robson location actually has a K-Pocha Menu, serving up their version of many Korean favourites. We were invited to sample a few items off that menu.

Triple Black Garlic Ramen

Food

We love KFC! As in Korean Fried Chicken!! Their crust is always lighter and when they fry the chicken it’s always less greasy. And moist chicken breast.

It’s no difference here at Koika. The Soonsal Chicken can be either in sweet chilli or soy garlic, and we went for the sweet chilli as it’s our favourite sauce for KFC. There was a decent amount of boneless chicken pieces. The meat was moist, the exterior still held its crispiness and the sweet chilli sauce definitely packed some heat.

Soonsal Chicken

Next, the Gogi Tteok-bok-ki was spicy rice cake with pork belly. (more…)

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Last year a few fried chicken shops popped up, one of which was Win Win Chick-N in Steveston. It was quite hyped up and this Valentine’s Day it was even selling a fried chicken bouquet rivaling Juke. It’s a bit of a trek to go to Steveston just for fried chicken but when I won a gift card there, there’s no more excuse for me not to try them out.

Win Win Chick-N

Full disclosure: I won a gift card from an IG giveaway but I made my purchase like regular customers. And the food came from the regular display tray.

Food

We ordered the 5pc Fried Chicken. Verdict? The fried chicken had really nice crispy skin, and the meat was juicy and flavourful. To me, the thigh was the best part. The seasoning was just right. The drumstick and wing, however, were a bit too salty because there’s little meat on them. We got one piece of chicken breast, and it was moist, which was important to me too.

Win Win Chick-N Fried Chicken

And the most surprising part of our meal? (more…)

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A new pork katsu (aka cutlet) shop opened up in Surrey. Turns out it’s a chain with multiple locations in Toronto. This Surrey location is the first in BC.

Mr. Tonkatsu Surrey

The menu is quite simple: variations of pork loin or tenderloin katsu, or chicken or shrimp katsu if you don’t feel like pork. Alongside there’s also appetizers or fried chicken to add to the mix.

Mr. Tonkatsu Surrey

Food

As suggested by the restaurant name, obviously we had to order a tonkatsu. We had the Pork Loin Katsu. Mr. made a comment, “This is one of the few restaurants whose food comes out exactly like the pictures in the menu.” Sure enough, it looks just like the menu, down to one piece of cutlet flipped to its side. In fact, I think the portion size is even bigger than the picture.

Mr. Tonkatsu Surrey Pork Loin Katsu

The cutlet was crispy, with just the right amount of breading. Panko breading was light and flaky.

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It’s always been on my list to try La Foret but for whatever reason I never did. When I took Mama Lam out shopping at Metrotown one weekend, I decided to take her there first.

The entrance could be deceiving because it seems like a small space, but it’s narrow and long with lots of seating available. You will find numerous 2-tops that can be turned into 4-tops, but also a few long communal tables for big groups.

La Foret

Food

For Mama Lam, she ordered Chicken + Waffle, with buttermilk fried chicken and squid ink waffle. I’ve never squid ink waffles before. The texture of the waffle was quite interesting; it’s denser than typical Belgian waffle yet it’s spongy and lighter than expected. There’s a hint of fishiness from the squid ink. Chicken was boneless thigh meat; batter was thin, crispy, and meat was juicy. It’s a good portion size, quite filling for brunch.

Chicken + Waffle at La Foret

The Sausage Platter was marked as a new item on the menu. (more…)

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This year’s Dine Out has 4 menu price points: $15, $25, $35 and $45. Not many places offer a $15 menu but I was most intrigued by Popina on Granville Island. The restaurant concept is created by some of the most celebrated chefs in Vancouver. The space is made up of shipping containers, located right by the Granville Island Public Market.

Popina on Granville Island

Popina on Granville Island

The $15 menu is pretty straightforward. A sandwich + a side of fries and its signature puffcream for dessert. CC and I went there on the sunny Sunday afternoon, 3 hours before our dinner reservation. Luckily for us, because it’s just counter service, we were able to just order one set and share between the two of us.

Popina on Granville Island

Food

For the sandwich, you have the option of BC Beef Cheeseburger or Crispy Chicken Burger. We chose the Crispy Chicken Burger.

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For the second year, Juke Fried Chicken in Chinatown is participating in Dine Out Vancouver. I was invited to a tasting of its $25 menu.

Food

The appetizer includes two options. The Country Biscuits are to die for! They were warm, had a nice crispy crust on the outside, and soft, buttery inside. Combining with the herbed schmaltz (think butter), mmm it’s one of the best biscuits I’ve had in town. There was leftover from the tasting, so I brought some home. Even with reheating, my family was still marvelled by how delicious these biscuits were.

Juke Fried Chicken - Country Biscuits

The other option is Fried Zucchini Pickles. Since it’s home made, it’s not pungent and acidic like the typical pickles. There’s a bit of sweetness in them. The corn flour-cornmeal crust was thin, making the exterior perfectly crunchy. The honey dill dressing goes well with it, and I tasted a hint of heat too. I didn’t think much of it when I saw this option on the menu, but it’s actually some good munchies before the highlight of the meal.

Juke Fried Chicken - Fried Zucchini Pickles

Suggested by the restaurant name, obviously fried chicken needs to be on the menu.

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