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Archive for the ‘Family-friendly’ Category

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.

Food

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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During the Christmas Break, Mr. and I went to the States to check out some holiday light displays. We drove through various neighbourhoods in the Seattle area and were amazed by how the houses came together to put on some fabulous displays.

The highlight of our trip was visiting the Lights of Christmas in Stanwood, at the Warm Beach Camp. With more than one million Christmas lights spread over 15 acres, this is known to be the largest holiday light display in the Pacific Northwest. I’m always fascinated by lights, the more the merrier, so I wasn’t going to miss it.

The Lights of Christmas

And it didn’t disappoint. There were 6 themed areas, each with its own unique lights. Some of my favourites include the light tunnels, a light maze (although not as elaborate as what Enchant offered here in Vancouver), the Fireball Tree (that looks like fireworks itself), the Cascade mountains, Christmas Tree Island, the angels, the snow-capped mountain, and the waterfall.

The Lights of Christmas

The Lights of Christmas (more…)

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Just a couple weeks ago it was Moon Festival aka Mid Autumn Festival. To us, it’s an occasion for family gathering, so Mr. and I, along with our parents, went out for a big dinner at Parklane Chinese Restaurant.

Food

Parklane serves Chiu Chow cuisine 潮州, which is quite different from most Chinese restaurants in Richmond as most of them serve Shanghainese or Cantonese style cuisine. Chiu Chow cuisine is seafood based and the preparation and flavours are quite unique. To make ordering easier, we decided to go for one of its special set menu. First of all, Chilled Crab. As suggested by the name, the crab was served cold — a chilled, previously steamed crab. Why chilled, you ask? Chiu Chow area residents used to be fishermen, so when they were out fishing, they could be at sea for days or even weeks and months. So to preserve the seafood that they caught, they would steam everything then chill them, thus maintaining the fresh seafood taste while prolonging their shelf life.

Chilled Crab

The Chilled Crab 凍蟹 was nice, firm and meaty. It came with a ginger dark vinegar dipping sauce, which brought out the fresh seafood taste. I like that they pre-cracked the claws so it’s easier to peel.

Next, a tummy warming Pepper Pig Stomach Soup 咸菜胡椒豬肚湯. The white pepper flavour was very prominent, giving the soup the depth of flavours and the heat that made it a perfect fall/winter soup. The pig stomach was treated properly so there wasn’t any unpleasant taste to it. And the use of preserved vegetables added some salt and a hint of sourness to the soup. Everyone around the table really enjoyed this.

Pepper Pig Stomach Soup

Marinated Duck 滷水鴨 is also a signature Chiu Chow dish. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: After being MIA for a month planning and holding the “Joyce becomes Mrs. and Mr. officially becomes Mr. party, we’re back! Hope you didn’t miss us too much ;)]

Pepper Lunch opened its first Canada location in Richmond earlier this year. When it first opened, there was usually a line-up, so it took us awhile before we finally avoided the line-up and checked out the restaurant just a few weeks ago.

Pepper Lunch is a DIY quick service concept and the menu is relatively straightforward. Everything on a sizzling pan. Meat with rice, or just meat, served on a hot sizzling pan and diners have to cook the meat to their heart’s content. It reminds me of Stonegrill except this is a more casual meal.

Food

As first timers, we asked the staff for ideas and they suggested that we tried its signature pepper rice. And we did. For an extra $2.75, I made my Beef Pepper Rice into a combo so it also came with a drink and miso soup.

Beef Pepper Rice Combo

There was a good amount of thin beef slices, but boy, did they cook fast. It took no time to cook the meat, so I had to stir quickly to mix everything (meat, rice and loads of corn kernels) together.

Beef Pepper Rice

The basic flavouring of the pepper rice is black pepper, hence the dish name, and that on its own was already quite flavourful. For extra flavours, you are also given two house sauces to add to your plate: Honey Brown Sauce and Garlic Soy Sauce. (more…)

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With an invitation to a Chef’s Table at Earl’s North Vancouver, Mr. and I sampled a number of dishes from their brunch menu. Before this, I never knew that Earls has an actual brunch menu, and it never came to mind when I looked for brunch spots.

Similar to the Chef’s Table we had at the Port Coquitlam location, it was a meal for 6 and we were joined by Tila at Fat Panda, Dee at Gastrofork and their respective guest.

Food

For drinks we had two options, Mimosa or its Signature Caesar. The Mimosa was the classic combination of sparkling wine with orange juice; it wasn’t too strong in alcohol, making it a great option for women. And for the manly men, Caesar would be for you. I’m not a huge fan of the savoury taste in Caesars, but I was quite impressed to hear the long list of ingredients in Earls’ version: Red Tabasco, Green Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Horseradish, Onion Powder, Soy Sauce, HP Sauce, Roasted Pepper.

MimosaSignature Caesar

We got to sample 4 dishes on the brunch menu. First up, the Granola + Yogurt Parfait was quite pretty to look at, and tasty, too. It had a lot of crunchy elements from the house made flax, toasted almonds and pecans, and rolled oats. The use of fresh blueberries, along with agave syrup, gave it a sweet balance. You can control the sweetness by adding as much, or as little, agave syrup as you wish. This makes a healthy yet fun breakfast. I tend to prefer fruit yogurt and never pay much attention to plain yogurt; but now I’m inspired to create my own version of yogurt parfait for breakfast.

Granola + Yogurt Parfait

Next is a classic brunch menu item, Eggs Benny. (more…)

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We were invited by the Earls in Poco to one of its exclusive Chef’s Table evenings. The intention of the evening was to provide an opportunity to meet Head Chef Simon Zanotto, sample a number of their signature dishes, and gain a better understanding of the restaurant chain. I turned this into a triple-date and invited WK+MS and CC+DF to join Mr. and me for dinner.

At a young age of 25, Chef Simon Zanotto is currently the head chef of Earls Port Coquitlam. Since he’s a child, he has learned to love and appreciate food and through his families, he believes that food should be served fresh, simple and be bold in flavour. Simon went to the Pierre Dubrulle Culinary Art Institute, worked with the Glowbal Restaurant Group, completed his Red Seal certification, and has been with Earls for 7 years now. At the Chef’s Table, Chef Simon spent a lot of time with us and his passion for food was definitely shown through the food and our conversations.

Chef Simon Zanotto

Food

Here are the dishes we tried that evening. Chef Simon emphasized his belief in depth of flavours, and it’s clearly demonstrated in the layers of flavour that he developed in each dish.

Los Cabos Chicken Tacos – I liked how the cheese was melted on the tortilla (instead of sprinkled) and the tender chicken was met with the creamy avocado corn salsa and crunchy shredded lettuce. An excessive amount of valentina hot sauce could just kill your taste buds, but this was just the right amount to bring you some heat.

Los Cabos Chicken Tacos:

In House Sourdough with Confit Garlic Oil and Fresh Herbs – This was very good! You can taste the subtle sourness in the sourdough, and that herbs infused confit garlic oil added savouriness and a bit of spice, as well as introduced an Asian note to it. The grinding part was fun too! If we didn’t have that many dishes to go through, I think we could finish a few plates of this!

In-House SourdoughConfit Garlic Oil and Fresh Herbs

Dynamite Prawn + Mango Roll – Chef Simon made this fresh right at the table. (more…)

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