After an evening downtown I had a congee craving so Wendy suggested we try Congee Noodle King Seafood Restaurant, an unassuming Chinese place along Kingsway that does a late night menu. The menu is quite varied and has three tiers priced at $5.35, $6.45, and $6.95.
We ordered a Plain Congee (Large) ($5.35) and it was just that. Pretty damn large.
I decided to try something new to me with the Pan fried duck kidney w/ ginger and onion ($6.45). It was done up with a sweet BBQ sauce and was equally enjoyable on its own or in the congee. Texture varied between soft and chewy.
One time while driving down Kingsway I noticed the bright awning of Mui Ngo Gai. That led me to the website address they posted on their window. I thought it was interesting that a Vietnamese restaurant that’s not part of a chain would have a website setup. So I logged on to check them out.
Boy am I glad that I did. Mui Ngo Gai is owned by a couple where the wife is Vietnamese. They chronicle (through their blog) their travels to different parts of Vietnam, trying out the different types of pho of different regions, and recreating them at their restaurant. The regions include but are not limited to Hanoi, Hue, My Tho, Saigon, etc. This leads to lots of different flavors and combinations in the “Specialty Soup” section, some of which I’ve never seen before anywhere else in the Lower Mainland. They’ve also included very good descriptions of each dish. Check out Mui Ngo Gai’s website and see for yourself.
Of course they have the good ol’ staple of beef pho for the unadventurous bunch ;)…and for those where beef pho in itself is an adventure, their menu has a guide of the main ingredients found in your typical noodle soup.
Hitman and I would like to think of ourselves as adventurous…so no, we did not order beef pho.
For appetizer, I picked the Bánh bột lọc tôm thịt gói lá chuối ($7, 10 pieces) which is from the Hue region. It was a steamed tapioca starch dumpling stuffed with pork and shrimp. I couldn’t wait to unwrap each individual dumpling from its banana leaf blanket, dunk it in ngoc nam, and pop it in my mouth.
It was every bit as delicious as I suspected it would be. The tapioca starch dumpling was chewy like mochi, and the stuffing delicately seasoned. My only gripe would be that there’s a bit too little stuffing in each morsel. Nonetheless I enjoyed this immensely.
Before I begin this post, I just want to say that I was excited about trying the Gypsy Trunk Gourmet Fare food cart and I really wanted to like them. I admire the proprietor’s free-spirited decision to follow her dream (read more about that on the Gypsy Trunk website) and I respect any business that strives to bring healthier choices to the table, however the food in this case left something to be desired.
We decided to brave the snow last weekend and headed out for Seedy Saturdays. No this is not the latest club night on the Granville strip, this particular Seedy Saturday is an annual seed show of the garden variety put on by the Master Gardeners Association and held at the VanDusen Floral Hall.
You can buy and swap seeds there and also watch presentations and demonstrations. It was a pleasant way to kill an hour or two, and if you decide to go next time we would recommend arriving early since it gets really busy later on.
When I saw Gypsy Trunk had hauled their food truck down in the cold and snow from their usual post out in Langley I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try their healthy vegan fare. They serve a mixture of hot dogs, wraps, and quesadillas, with the wraps being gluten-free as well as vegan. Wraps are $10-12, hot dogs and quesadillas are $6-7. All imitation items on their menu are listed in quotes.
Oh, and they serve stevia-sweetened pop ($2) which is cool and a brand of coconut water we haven’t tried yet: Thirsty Buddha ($4). So far our absolute favourite is T.A.S. brand but this one sounds interesting.
Wendy and I were looking for a quick snack around Broadway and Cambie, and Solly’s Bagelry looked like it fit the bill.
Once inside things got a bit more interesting, as we could see that Solly’s wasn’t just a bagel place, but a full Jewish bakery. As the sign says, they carry babka but we didn’t check to see if they have the debatably “lesser” cinnamon variety from the Seinfeld episode. I love that show!
Side note – I had the pleasure of being served (and denied, of course) soup from Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi a few years back at Greens and Beans. He makes regular charity fundraising trips to Vancouver so keep an eye out for local appearances if you’re interested. Or you could try our homegrown hero The Sandwich Nazi, who we’ve blogged about before.
They also carry lavash, but the version we saw on sale at Solly’s Bagelry was a crisp version which looks much different from the fresh Turkish lavash we tried at Anatolia’s Gate.
Knish is something I had heard of before (probably on Seinfeld again) but never tried. My Potato and Onion Knish ($1.75) had a samosa-like filling surrounded by light, flaky crust. It reminded me of Sweet Cherubim‘s baked samosas; both in the crust and the mild, pleasant filling.
A coworker asked me to post more recipes; I think it’s cuz she’s getting married soon and needs some simple home cooking recipes to feed her soon-to-be-hubby =) So here’s a simple lamb recipe for her to hopefully make one day to wow him!
Hitman and I collaborated on our Valentine’s Day dinner. We decided to stay in and prepare dinner together the day of ♥.
This is hands-down the fanciest dinner I’ve ever prepared in my life. It’s also probably one of the easiest. We made Roasted Rack of Lamb with sides of Hitman’s Roasted Potatoes (recipe handed down by his mom), and French beans with golden beets in a balsamic vinaigrette. The sides took more work than the meat itself actually. For this dinner I made the rack of lamb, and the French beans and golden beets side dish.
The beets were a bit of a happy accident since I didn’t realize that boiling takes away much of the sweetness of the beets. After boiling then tasting one plain I decided to whip up a quick vinaigrette to add some of the sweetness back into it. Hitman was initially unimpressed with the boiled beets but after adding the vinaigrette he ended up loving them! They also made a great cold salad as leftovers. If you want to try the traditional option which is also delicious I’m including a simple roasted golden beets recipe as well.