Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Tapas’ Category

For the last couple of years, the dynamics of Vancouver’s restaurant sector have shifted. More commissary kitchens have opened, some restaurateurs have closed their brick and mortar to switch to a ghost kitchen concept, some aspired restaurateurs and bakers are testing the water without a brick and mortar. It’s relatively lower-cost to run a restaurant operation without the investment of a physical location with equipment, tables & chairs, dishware and decorations, and everything else. It’s especially appealing during the COVID-19 crisis now when a majority of business comes from take-out or delivery orders.

IMG_20200617_224526.jpg

Coho Commissary

Earlier in the year, Takenaka opened its door, figuratively speaking, by offering different types of Japanese bento boxes. It operates in one of the Coho Commissary locations in Vancouver. Their concept is inspired by the traditional bento boxes created by mom, while introducing a more artistic approach and bringing in fresh and interesting ingredients. The owner/chef Shogo Takenaka came from Kingyo Izakaya and its sister restaurant Raisu. Sous-chef Daiki Ishikawa was trained in Niigata prefecture, known for its finest quality in rice, sake and seafood. I was provided a few of their menu items for a tasting.

IMG_20200617_222656.jpg

Food

Among the items I received, right away my eyes were drawn to the Kaiseki Bento.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Cuban inspired restaurant in Vancouver? You don’t see many of them around, but there’s one right in Mount Pleasant. Tocador opened just last year and it’s all about the cocktail menu and share plates. I actually had the pleasure to interview one of its co-owners, Guy, a few years ago. This time, I was invited to sample the menu at Tocador.

Cocktails

First of all, let’s talk about its cocktail menu. It’s two pages long! One page is full of the classics, such as Negroni, Mojito, Hot Buttered Rum, Manhattan and Mai Tai. The other, is a list of original cocktails created by the team at Tocador. The two owners both started out as a bartender so it only makes sense that they pay a lot of attention to the cocktail menu. They infuse a lot of their liquors so you would see something like mango butter infused rum, red bell pepper infused mezcal and paprika infused tequila.

The Escocesa, for example, uses beet infused Dewars scotch.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

For a triple-date night, we went for Dine Out at Chicha, a Peruvian-inspired eatery in the Mount Pleasant area. There were lots of options on the $28 menu, with some interesting combination of ingredients. I was intrigued.

Food

Because of its “tapa-style” menu, instead of 3 courses, you actually get 4 plates at Chicha. Definitely a bonus, I’d say. To start, I ordered myself a Chilcano (left), a ginger-beer based cocktail. It had some nice acidity to it, with a bit of heat from the ginger root. Mr. ordered the Inka Cola, a Peruvian soda which we were told “taste like cream soda.” And it did taste just like cream soda, not much fizz, and a bit sweeter than the actual cream soda we’re used to.

ChilcanoInka Kola

And then the feast began! First, my Aji Amarillo Local Seafood Chowder was pretty good. I was expecting a bit of heat with the aji amarillo chili pepper, but rather on the mild side for me. In addition to fish pieces, there were squid in the chowder, tender and not like chewing bubble gum, which I thought was different from most other ones.

Aji Amarillo Local Seafood Chowder

Mr. had the Palitos de Yuca, which was basically cassava root fries. They were a lot starchier than potato fries, and had a harder exterior too. The Peruvian Huancaina sauce was spicy, creamy, reminded me of a curry mayo. This was quite filling as an appy. While it’s good, I think we prefer regular potato fries.

Palitas de Yuca

Each of us received two entrees, i.e. 4 for us! Each of the Pan Con Chicharron Sliders had a hearty slice of pork belly, and the fatty part just melts in your mouth!
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Partnering once again with the team at VANEATS, we were invited to sample the #TurnOnTheRajio package. If you remember, last time we checked out Rajio we quite enjoyed it, so I was happy to plan a return visit and I invited LW to join me.

#TurnOnTheRajio by VANEATS.ca

Food

Before we began eating, we ordered a Smashing Hit Punch. At first it looked a bit steep at $12, but it was more than a drink. First, it’s served in this cute watermelon cup. In addition to the cocktail, they also cut the watermelon in cubes and placed them in the cup. Did you know that watermelon works like sponges? The fruit pieces just soaked up all the alcohol so when you eat them they’re extra delicious! It’s like a spiked fruit salad!

Smashing Hit Punch

Now, onto the food. The VANEATS package includes 4 items:

The Kushikatsu is the house specialty. For this package you will be given 4 deep-fried, panko-breaded skewers at random, upon chef’s recommendation. I have looked at other bloggers’ photos and we all seemed to get different things. I got to try 1) Camerbet cheese, 2) Takoyaki, 3) Beef, and 4) Asparagus. All these skewers come with the house dipping sauce. The skewers themselves do not have a lot of seasoning, but the sauce adds some sweet and savouriness to them, accentuating the flavours. Now remember, only one dunk per skewer. Why? It was recommended by the restaurant; I suspect it has to do with softening the breading and affecting the crispy exterior.

Kushikatsu

The Bagna Cauda is your Japanese twist of veggie and dip. (more…)

Read Full Post »

With different Japanese izakayas popping up around town, it’s been forever since I last visited a Guu location. I remember the Thurlow location was my very first izakaya that I’ve visited in Vancouver and it was such a unique experience: the screaming servers, the exchange of Japanese throughout the room and the long list of small plates that we could order. It was so much fun I took a visiting guest to Guu Garlic after. Now, years later, I’m back.

Food

Guu Garlic’s name came from the extra use of garlic at this particular location, and it still holds true to this day. With my girlfriends, we ordered a number of dishes. First, the Salmon Sashimi didn’t look super fatty at first, but it’s actually quite good. It tasted fresh and did have a bit of the fatty texture.

Salmon Sashimi

And so we had an encore of sashimi. The Assorted Sashimi included salmon, scallops and tuna tataki. Not very many pieces so I’m not sure if it’s the best value, but the scallops were sweet and the tuna tataki was skillfully thinly seared on the outside.

Assorted Sashimi

Funny enough, we also ordered the Tuna Tataki (when a bunch of hungry women blindly ordering food off a menu, there could be a lot of similar items lol). The difference here was that they made it more like a salad by including some greens, ponzu sauce and a generous serving of crispy garlic chips (remember I talked about the use of garlic? Proof #1). I prefer this iteration of tuna tataki, using the slightly acidic ponzu sauce, over the sashimi version with just soy sauce.

Tuna Tataki

The last raw dish was the Yellow Tail Carpaccio. The flavour of yellow tail (hamachi) is quite delicate, so the sauce was a bit too over-powering in my opinion. The garlic chips (Proof #2) and sliced onion were actually a bit sweet (though also a bit spicy) so they did work with this plate.

Yellow Tail Carpaccio

Ebi Mayo is my must-have at all izakayas. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: