Having moved out of Richmond for a while now, I must admit, I really miss the quality and quantity of good Asian restaurants within the city. Now, when I want good Shanghai or Szechuan food, I have to drive across the bridge to get it and time my way back just so I won’t get stuck in traffic!
So when I was told of Private Home Chinese Cuisine restaurant nearby, I was thrilled, and quickly went to try it out.
Private Home Chinese Cuisine restaurant is a mish-mash of cuisines in one. They have “Shanghai”, “Szechuan”, and some other fusion Chinese. Usually I’m not into these kinds of restaurants, but I’ve been told their xiao long bao is pretty good, so I was happy to give them a chance.
Very (VERY) brightly lit interior…too bright actually, for me…makes for good pictures though.
Also very spacious interior with a very modern decor.
Here are Private Home Chinese Cuisine’s version of xiao long bao, called Steamed bun filled with pork Shanghai style ($5.99).
I must say, Graze Restaurant is making its way up there to becoming one of my top vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver
This would be my second time heading to Graze Restaurant for dinner. I wouldn’t say I was wow-ed the first time, although it really wasn’t bad at all. However, this second time around, I must say I really enjoyed my meal, both visually and gastronomically. I’ll be honest though…it’s probably all in the esthetics this time. The evening we went it was still pretty sunny and fair-weathered. Not too windy and not to hot, it was mild enough for me to actually be okay with having the meal in the patio. I must say it was pretty nice. These pictures are from my first visit. It was a darker time back then…(Autumn!!). Some selections of food aren’t available anymore, so I won’t blog about those. Besides, the food this time was far more exciting to me. We came to Graze with a coupon in hand which gave us a free appetizer with the order of an entree. We chose the Gaspacho Salad ($10). GASPACHO SALAD Heirloom tomato, cukes & grilled melon in raspberry vinaigrette, tomato-mint sorbet. Isn’t it a beaut? It was such a colorful dish. So much so that I felt refreshed just looking at it. The edible flower bunches on top (mustard? chinese broccoli?) just matched the season so well. The components themselves were not much to talk about, but when dipped with a bit of the tomato mint sorbet, everything changed. It instantly refreshes the palate without being too overwhelming. And grilled melons eaten on a patio is always a treat. Continue reading
Palki Restaurant has been doing brisk business for the past 14 years, having opened their doors back in 2000. It’s taken us a while to get out there though since Palki is in North Van which is a bit of a trek from Burnaby. Palki invited us to North Vancouver to sample their freshly updated menu, which had a Valentine’s Day overhaul this year.
My buddy Pandesally and I made the journey to sample some of their “Best Indian Cuisine” as the name suggests. The name also evokes love and tradition, as a palki is a traditional Indian wedding “carriage”, kind of a litter used to transport the bride.
We parked half a block away and the spicy aromas wafting from Palki caught our noses immediately, beckoning us inside. The restaurant was fairly busy, including some large groups that arrived later. Palki’s seems to be a hit with the locals, and you should probably book reservations especially on holidays. Their interior had a modern feel thanks to some beautiful renovations done a little over a year ago.
Palki specializes in North Indian dishes, but their menu also contains coastal dishes and dishes with Afghani, Persian, and even Portuguese influences. Their menu also has a beef section, which you don’t always see in local Indian restaurants.
We started with drinks. Pandesally had an Indian beer ($5.25) and I had a Salted Lassi ($3.50). Palki changes their import beer selection based on availability, and Kingfisher Lager was their selection of the day. Pandesally ordered a second so I will safely assume he enjoyed it.
My savoury Salted Lassi drink may be a bit more of an acquired taste. In my opinion it’s just salty enough to remain refreshing, but some may find it “weird” as I can’t think of a Western equivalent. It’s sprinkled with cumin for added flavour and the yogurt based drink made a wonderfully cool accompaniment to the spicy dishes. Oh, and they make their own yogurt from low-fat milk! Love it.
On my last night in San Diego, I had dinner with the classmates I was training with. Since San Diego is known for their Mexican food and fish tacos, we decided to go to Habanero’s Mexican Grill which was right beside our hotel.
At first we thought Habanero’s was a sit-down restaurant, but it turns out, it’s more an order at counter, then take your seat type of eatery. So basically it’s like a food court but with just one restaurant.
No, this restaurant is not a white man’s take on Thai cuisine. Bob Likes Thai Food is actually run by a Mr. Tai Keattivanichvily, and seems to have got its name as randomly as I got mine (for those wondering, I was wearing a red tie/white shirt get-up for work once, and combined with my shaved head a coworker said I looked like Hitman from the movie/game. Wendy agreed, but that sounded too menacing for the blog so I added a Howdy at the end based on WordPress’s dashboard greeting, which I was viewing at the time. Random!).
Tai wanted to create the persona of a foreigner expat who goes to Thailand and falls in love with the cuisine, then upon returning home decides to recreate the food he misses. That’s one explanation of the name. Others are even more confusing and odd. Quirky, right? Wendy and I went to visit Bob Likes Thai Food armed with a snaplocal gift certificate she won to see if the food was as interesting as the name would imply.
You might notice the giant spoon and fork hanging on the walls when you enter. Mr. Keattivanichvily crafted these himself, and they represent the utensils that urban Thais use. Knives are only used during meal preparation, not during eating. Thais use their fork to push food onto the spoon, which is the only utensil it is considered “proper” to put in your mouth. Even when eating steak many Thais will take care not to let the fork touch their teeth or lips.
There are various theories explaining these dining habits floating around the interwebs, but my favourite is that a Thai king was given a fancy silverware set from the British, and not knowing quite what to do with it simply made up his own way of eating with them, which caught on with the general public given their great affection for the Thai Royal Family.
Bob Likes Thai Food has your standard Thai fare which I will get to later. Their Small Plates menu has all sorts of interesting offerings though, including some Northern Thai specialties, so we stuck to that section for our first visit.
The Lychee Wrapped Bacon with Pineapple ($5) is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually bacon-wrapped lychee as you can see in the pic, but that’s what we were expecting anyway. They were scrumptious, however I was disappointed that there were only three. If they had added even one more instead of padding the plate with salad I would have felt that we got our money’s worth. Or at least describe the portion on the menu instead of writing “Ditto…” under the title. Seeing my disappointment Wendy was kind enough to offer me the last one, so that smoothed things over