Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge (at Fairmont Pacific Rim)

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Torched Wagyu Beef Salad; Bloody Mary

Back in December, I took S out for her birthday at the Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim. In the winter months, they had a five-course cocktail brunch for $42 per person with the cocktail pairing for an additional $28.

For the first course, there are two selections, so of course we got one of each. I chose the Torched Wagyu Beef Salad which comes with red onion, sake-beet puree, scallion-ginger emulsion, nori chips and miso creme fraiche. The wagyu beef was tender and melted in my mouth! The only complaint was that the beef was served cold, but I guess since it is a salad, the rest of the ingredients are cold.

The cocktail pairing was a Bloody Mary with vodka, lemon, tomato juice, sriracha, horseradish, salt, and pepper. I normally don’t like Bloody Marys but I actually quite enjoyed this one as the spice level was just right.

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Red Tuna Tataki

S got the Red Tuna Tataki  with yusuf cosh vinaigrette, soy glee, daikon, and micro greens. This was beautifully presented and the tatami was seared just enough while keeping the centre a beautiful pink.

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Light- Zaiten

The tuna tataki was paired with a Light-Zaiten which consisted of gin, organic green tea, dry vermouth, rosemary, cucumber and lime. This was a light and refreshing drink which paired well with the fresh tuna.

 

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Signature Bacon and Sable Miso

The second course was the same for everyone which was the Signature Bacon and Sable Miso. This soup featured bacon dashi, house-cured sablefish, ginger and scallions. This is definitely a gourmet miso soup and we both really enjoyed it. The bacon bits with the sablefish was absolutely delicious and paired so well together! I only wish this came out piping hot as it was served warm rather than hot.

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Beer Makes Miso Happy

The miso soup was paired with Beer Makes Miso Happy which we thought would be beer at first, but it was served in a tall cocktail glass. Turns out it consists of Grand Marnier, wheat beer, ginger, and lemon. The ginger flavour was very strong so if you’re not a beer drinker, you can still enjoy this. Love how they put puns in their menu names by the way!

 

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Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”

For the third course, S chose the Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”. This is their take on an eggs Benedict as it’s not what you would usually see. It came with a poached egg, sweet milk bread, inure, miso hollandaise and avocado. Unfortunately, the egg rolled off and broke once our server placed it down. However, S really enjoyed the dish and the twist from the traditional.

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Kurobuta Pork Kakuni

For myself, I had the Kurobuta Pork Kakuni, which feature braised pork belly, 62 degrees egg, sweet soy broth, daikon, carrot, potato, and tamanishiki rice served on the side. The pork was very tender with the fatness bringing some richness to the dish. The soy broth was delicious with the rice and the egg was poached perfectly with the yolk oozing out. By this course, we were starting to get full, so the rice itself makes this course even more filling.

 

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Pepe Le Pew; Pork ‘N’ Cider

The cocktail pairing for the salmon benny was the Pepe Le Pew, which featured a Lillet rose, sherry, and sparkling brut. This was definitely sweeter but I enjoyed the fizz from the sparkling brut. The cocktail pairing for the pork belly was the Pork ‘N’ Cider which featured Lonetree cider, sweet vermouth and sherry. The sherry paired really well with the pork although I found the drink on the sweeter side.

 

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Sushi Omakase; Sparkling Junmai Sake

The fourth course was the Sushi Omakase, which featured a spicy tuna maki, temari sushi topped with crab meat, halo sushi topped with cured saba, and salmon and tuna nigiri. Honestly, this was one of the courses I was excited for, but I felt that the sushi left me disappointed. The presentation was not as nice as I expected, and the fish was cut sort of choppy. The seafood is oceanwise here, which is a plus, but I just didn’t find the fish very fresh. As for the pairing, this came with Sparkling Junmai Sake, which I really enjoyed. It can be quite strong for some though.

 

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Yakult Shooter; Wakayama Beach

For dessert, the five course meal ended with a Yakult Shooter, which featured plum glee, pear, matcha green tea, black sesame powder and yusuf pearls served in oyster shells. This was visually beautiful to look at, but S and I both agreed we were confused with the flavours and ultimately did not enjoy it. Something was just off about it. This came with the Wakayama Beach which featured gin, yuzu, basil, coconut water, and ginger. The drink was a refreshing drink to finish off the meal, although we were quite buzzed after the 5 drinks!

As it was S’s birthday, I mentioned to the server the special occasion hoping to get a message written on our dessert, but they ended up giving us a delicious plate of truffles on the house which I thought was very sweet.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the five course brunch and would highly recommend getting it with the cocktail pairings. You get quite a lot of food and will be stuffed at the end and given its reasonable price, I think it’s a pretty good deal. I did have some issues with service, since I made the reservations a month in advance through email and had received confirmation. Yet, when I arrived, they told me there was no such reservation. Quite disappointed with that given they are such a large hotel, but luckily since it was a snow day, the restaurant was not very busy. Our server also did not tell us what our drinks were each time she placed them down, which would be expected at hotel restaurant. However, the ambiance of the restaurant is A+ since it has amazing natural light coming in and the simplicity of white tables and chairs with the orange chopsticks makes the setting visually appealing. I will be back again if they have other set menus in the future!

Pros:
– Cocktail pairings are on point with overall good food
– Ambiance and plating is visually beautiful

Cons:
– Service was a miss for us

Price Range: $50-80

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 2 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

RawBar at The Lobby Lounge - Fairmont Pacific Rim Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Big G Large Fried Chicken

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Ever since we came back from Taiwan, we’ve been craving the large fried chicken you can get at the Taiwanese night markets. The first time we came across it in Vancouver was at the Richmond Night Market, and now Big G Large Fried Chicken has opened up a store front in the mall on Capstan.

 

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Take out is available, but there is also a decent amount of seats for you to dine inside.

 

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Whether you order take out or dine in, you will need to first order and pay up front. Other than the signature large fried chicken, they also have a variety of Taiwanese snacks and bubble tea.

 

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Large Fried Chicken – Seaweed Powder

Of course we had to try the Large Fried Chicken which costs $9.99 for one piece. It’s quite expensive compared to Taiwan where it’s only around $3. Here, you are able to season the chicken with a variety of flavours though and can choose up to two flavours for free. The chicken itself is huge (the size of your face), but the chicken remains moist and juicy inside with the outside being extremely crispy. We chose to have one with salt and pepper which is essentially the original flavour. The other, we chose to have seaweed powder which was my favourite. Although quite expensive, I would still come back for it and share it as a snack.

 

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Crispy Oyster Mushrooms

In Taiwan, we were also obsessed with the Crispy Oyster Mushrooms. Here, these were just as good with the oysters remaining moist and the outside well seasoned and crispy. They were priced at $5.75 but you got a decent portion.

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Big G Milk Tea

Last but not least, we got the Big G Milk Tea for $4.50 and added $0.50 for pearls. By buying one main, one snack, and one drink, we made this a combo and received $1.50 off our total combo. The milk tea is okay, but nothing super special, so I find it quite expensive.

Overall, we are happy that we now have the large fried chicken available in Richmond. It makes a great snack when you are craving something deep fried and the best part is they open late!

Pros:
– Chicken is moist and batter is crispy
– Open late

Cons:
– Not exactly cheap for fried chicken

Price Range: $10-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

Big G Large Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WildTale Coastal Grill

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With 2017 Dine Out Vancouver underway, our first dine out of the year was at WildTale Coastal Grill in Yaletown. The interior has a rustic charm and is great as a date night spot.

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The Dine Out menu this year is $30 per person for three courses with wine pairings and add-ons available for extra charge.

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WildTale Seafood Chowder

S started off with the WildTale Seafood Chowder which came with a corn and crab fritter. I found the chowder to be very flavourful and probably best of the night. However, the chowder was extremely small even for an appetizer. Looks like they gave us half the portion because of dine out.

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Albacore Tuna Carpaccio

For myself, I had the Albacore Tuna Carpaccio with a baby gem citrus salad. The tuna itself was not seasoned and therefore really required the citrus fruits to enhance the flavour. Still, I found the dish to be rather bland and the tuna texture doesn’t really work well as a carpaccio since it’s rather mushy.

 

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Herb Crusted Wild Soho Salmon

For his entree, S got the Herb Crusted Wild Soho Salmon, which came with risotto, bay scallops and brown butter caper sauce. S actually disliked the dish and ended up trading it with mine. The salmon itself was cooked to medium rare, but we found it to be almost slightly undercooked. Definitely not dry, but parts of it was almost raw. The cook on the salmon was not the biggest issue. I think it was the sauce it came with and the risotto. Something about the flavour was really off and was too strong in lemon juice. Not sure if it’s just our personal preference, but we didn’t like the flavours at all.

 

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7 Hour Braised Alberta Beef Short Rib

For myself, I ordered the 7 Hour Braised Alberta Short Rib which came with a celeriac pomme puree and roasted bone marrow jus. The short rib was very tender and came apart easily, but again, the flavour was off. I wish they had marinated the short rib ahead of time as the inside of the beef was very bland and you really had to soak in as much jus as you could. The puree itself was pretty good though, but the overall dish was quite bland in flavours.

 

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Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

There was only one option for dessert, which was the Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse and it came with a housemade biscotti. I found it odd that our two jars were different, and I thought they should’ve at least presented the same types of jars for the same tables if they were short on jars. The mousse itself was also extremely sweet given the menu name said it was bittersweet. You really needed to mix it with the cream or it was too overwhelming. Still, we couldn’t finish the jar as it was quite sweet.

Overall, we were quite disappointed with our experience at WildTale for their Dine Out menu. I hope this is just a one off whereby their regular menu is executed much better. I understand that they are busy during dine out, but I was extremely surprised how fast the food came out. It was as if everything had been prepared in advance. Our total dinner took 45 minutes because of how fast our food came out. It almost felt uncomfortable as we had no breaks between our food. We personally also did not really enjoy any of the dishes on the dine out menu. Nothing blew our mind and made us want to come back. We’ll have to try their regular menu on a normal day to really see how it compares.

Pros:
– Date night ambiance
– Reasonable prices

Cons:
– Flavours were a bit bland
– Dishes came out way too quickly

Price Range: $30 based on DOVF menu price

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 2.5

WildTale Coastal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wild Sweets – 2017 Chinese New Year Collection

NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

With the Christmas holidays over, Wild Sweets has moved on to the next holiday – Chinese New Year or also known as Lunar New Year. The new collection is available until February 4, 2017 or until supplies last.

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2017 Year of the Rooster Chocolate Art Bouchées Series

Putting a twist to their Bouchées Series, Wild Sweets has reinvented the flavours to fit in with the lunar new year collection. They feature a cookie with caramel nut jam and a soft ganache made with different fruit-based liquid caramels. They are then enrobed in a bean-to-bar dark chocolate and topped with a beautiful almond paste disc with a rooster head design.

 

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The collection features the following flavours:

  • Lychee Longan Caramel Ganache, Sablé cookie & Black Sesame Nut Jam
  • Mandarin Orange Caramel Ganache,  Sablé cookie & Coconut Nut Jam
  • Peach Persimmon Caramel Ganache, Sablé cookie & Almond Nut Jam
  • Mango Green Tea Caramel Ganache, Sablé cookie & Peanut Nut Jam

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2017 Lunar Limited Edition ‘Year of the Rooster’ Chocolate Art

The lunar new year collection of chocolates feature soft ganaches made with different fruit-based liquid caramels and contrasting textural elements. The collection features the following flavours:

  • Chestnut Vanilla Bean Caramel Ganache & Organic roasted chestnuts
  • Pomelo Fruit Caramel Ganache & Ginger Lemon Honey Nut Cream
  • Apricot Vanilla Bean Caramel Ganache & Cubed Sticky Rice Cake
  • Kumquat Orange Caramel Ganache & Citrus Honey Nut Cream

 

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Crispy Biscuit Series

Many of their chocolates including the following below have also been re-designed and make perfect gifts for the lunar new year. They all come packaged in a beautiful box of four.

 

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Caramel Nut Jam Series

 

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Sablé Florentines Series 

 

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Fruit Macaron Series

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During our media event, they also created a huge rooster display made entirely of chocolate. It’s just missing it’s eyes!

 

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Overall, Wild Sweets has a great selection of gifts if you’re looking for something a little different this lunar new year. The sweets are a work of art with many items decorated or painted by hand. Plus, the beautiful red packaging makes it perfect for the occasion.

 

Wild Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant

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The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant opened up a few months ago in Richmond. It is located next to Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity.

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The restaurant offers dim sum in the early mornings and lunch and switches to Cantonese cuisine for dinner service. What is more interesting is that they serve sushi and sashimi during dim sum service. Yes…that is a sushi bar behind the counter. Honestly, that made me question the food even more because who comes to a dim sum restaurant for sushi?

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The decor inside is definitely pretty nice, on par with the Yuan’s next door. They also have private rooms if you are hosting parties.

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Tea came in a fancy teapot along with a heater. However, because of all these appliances, we found it took up way too much space on the table.

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Shrimp Dumplings

We started off with the Shrimp Dumplings which were quite typical. Large shrimps inside but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Beef Rice Roll

The Beef Rice Roll came accompanied with two gai lans. The rice roll itself was quite thin and smooth.

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Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf was a decent size with a variety of ingredients including minced pork, dried shrimp and egg yolk.

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Steamed Custard Bun

Next up were the Steamed Custard Buns. Not super pretty in appearance with the odd bumps here and there, but there was a good amount of filling and the bun itself was light and fluffy.

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Pork Shiu Mai

They offer truffle shiu mai here as well, but we opted for the regular Pork Shiu Mai as my mom doesn’t like the taste of truffle. These were quite large and the wrapper was thin.

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Taro Mushroom Bun

An interesting dish was the Taro Mushroom Bun. The bun itself is actually filled with taro and the outside is decorated with cocoa powder to imitate a mushroom.

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Is this cute or what? Even has the stem! The bun itself is nothing special but the appearance definitely won us over.

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Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake

To finish our meal, we had the Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake. This was a big portion but I found it to be a little too dense for my liking.

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Overall, we found The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant to be quite average for the price we were paying. The price is slightly higher than average, but the food was nothing too special. We also found the selection of food to be quite limited unless you want to venture into trying their sushi (which is quite expensive by the way). Not sure if I would return given the many options there are in Richmond.

Pros:
– Luxury ambiance
– Decent eats

Cons:
– Limited selection
– On the pricier side for the quality of food

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bibo Pizza al Taglio

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

Last month, we checked out the newest Bibo Pizza location in Olympic Village called Bibo Pizza al Taglio. It’s a short walk from the Canada Line station and makes a great lunch or dinner spot for the offices and residential buildings nearby.

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The interior has a rustic charm to it with brick walls on one side and hand-painted tile walls on the other. I especially liked this painting which requires a closer to look to find everything all so Roman about it.

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The menu at this location is much smaller, and focusses on Roman style pizza compared to the Neapolitan pizzas we see at their other locations. I first tried Roman style pizza when I was in Rome and fell in love with it! Instead of the typical circular shape, Roman style pizza are usually rectangular and sliced into squares. They also feature some focaccia options and gourmet pizzas with ingredients I haven’t seen elsewhere.

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Aranciata, Chinotto

We started off with some beverages from the Italian brand Lurisia. These are sodas which are imported from Italy. The Aranciata is my favourite as it’s a delicious soda made from oranges from the bays of the Adriatic sea. Think Fanta but way better. The Chinotto is also a fruit similar to an orange and tastes sort of like cola but not as sweet. Both are great choices to get a taste of Italy!

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The pizzas here are sold by slice with the exception of the gourmet pizzas which require an order of 3 for $20. However, the owner said that the menu will be changing and he hopes to offer the gourmet pizzas by slices as well. The gourmet pizzas are also made to order and ready within 10 minutes.

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Margherita, Prosciutto e Funghi, and Diavola

We first got to sample their traditional pizzas which included the Margherita, Prosciutto e Funghi and Diavola. The Margherita is topped with DOP tomato sauce, bocconcini fior di latte and basil. DOP means that the tomato sauce is certified to be locally grown and packaged in Italy. The Prosciutto e Funghi is topped with DOP tomato sauce, bocconcini fior di latter, cooked ham and mushrooms. Lots of toppings but I found this one to be rather bland. My favourite was the Diavola which consisted of DOP tomato sauce, bocconcini fior di latte and spicy salami. I really liked the kick of spice!

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#2 – Shitake Mushrooms, Bresaola Cured Meat, Parmigiano Reggiano, Arugula

We also got to try their gourmet pizzas which are made with focaccia and therefore much more fluffy than the traditional. We chose #2 which is topped with shitake mushrooms, bresaola cured meat, parmigiano reggiano, arugula and lemon. Their gourmet pizzas are what I would come back for. I love the variety of toppings which you can’t find at most pizza restaurants, but they actually work! There were so many mushrooms and the salt from the cured meats balanced the flavours very well. I’d definitely order this again.

Overall, we were impressed with the new Bibo location and am excited that we now have Roman style pizza in Vancouver. The prices are slightly higher, especially for the gourmet pizzas, but you get what you pay for. The gourmet pizzas are what I’d definitely come back for.

BiBo Pizza al Taglio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Poke Shop

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

Thanks to Naomi of Constant Cravings, a group of bloggers and I were invited to one of the newest poke shop in Vancouver. The Poke Shop is located in Gastown, but quite hidden as you must go down some stairs next to Water Street Cafe.

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Poke is great for take out but The Poke Shop also has decent amount of seating so that you can dine in.

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At the Poke Shop, you order at the counter by choosing either a large ($12.95) or super large ($15.95) bowl. You then choose your base which can be simply white rice, organic purple rice, mix greens and baby spinach, zucchini noodles or a mix of two. Most places have brown rice, but I think they may be the only poke shop with purple rice, so a great option for a healthier bowl.

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You can then pick two proteins and a large will get you two scoops, while a super large gets you three scoops. I believe if you get super large, you can choose three proteins.

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Moving on are the toppings, which are unlimited! I think that’s why the prices are slightly higher. They have a large variety including wakame seaweed salad, avocado, edamame, sesame seeds, cucumber, zucchini, mango, pineapple, pea shoots, corn, and nori to name a few. Last but not least, you can choose your sauce with options like horseradish aioli, wasabi, spicy, miso, or their signature sauce.

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This was my super large creation. I chose a mix of organic greens and white rice for my base and ahi tuna and spicy baby scallops for my protein. As for my toppings, I had some imitation crab, pineapple, wakame seaweed salad, corn, mango, masago, sesame seeds and their horseradish aioli. The bowl was pretty big and I frankly could not finish it in one seating, so a large may be enough for me. The seafood itself was fresh and marinated and the sauce was really good with a hint of spice.

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These were the other food bloggers’ poke bowls. There is seriously something for everyone. For size comparison, the bottom right is a large while the rest are super larges. Quite impressed with the poke bowls to be honest.

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Pineapple Plantation Iced Tea, 3 Berry and Lemon Soda, and Iced Matcha Green Tea with Honey (left to right)

As for drinks, they have plenty of options and pictured are the Pineapple Plantation Iced Tea, 3 Berry and Lemon Soda, and Iced Matcha Green Tea with Honey. I had the Pineapple Plantation Iced Tea which actually had bits of pineapple in it. The drink is not overly sweet which I enjoyed, but some others wanted it sweeter.

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Poke and Avocado on Toast

Lastly, the owner gave us a new dish for us to taste test which they are thinking of selling. This was Poke and Avocado on Toast and feature ahi tuna , avocados, mixed greens, and masago on the toast. The bread was toasted well and the combination was not bad, but I found it very difficult to eat as everything came falling apart. Perhaps, a sandwich might work better?

The Poke Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Milk & Eggs

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Milk & Eggs is one of the newest spots in Richmond, located in the plaza on Odlin and Cambie. They started off with only dessert, but looks like they have expanded their menu for dinner. I decided to check it out with J on a weekday for dinner, but was surprised to find we were the only patrons dining. Seems like not many people know about the place. However, later in the night, it did pick up but most people only came here for the desserts and not dinner.

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Garlic Butter Fries

We started off with the Garlic Butter Fries which came with a side of home made ketchup and aioli. The flavour was on point, but I have no idea why the fries were so short. It made it very annoying to eat and it felt like we were given the scraps. If they could fix this, then they would be perfect.

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Mussels in White Wine Cream Sauce

We ordered the Mussels in White Wine Cream Sauce but got it in the appetizer size, which was great for sharing. Sadly, we found these to be just average. Nothing wrong with them, but the sauce was not as good as many other restaurants we have tried. For the price, I would much rather go to Rodneys.

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Shitake Mushroom stuffed Meatballs on Fettuccine 

What we enjoyed the most for dinner was the Shitake Mushroom stuffed Meatballs on Fettuccine. The flavours for the pasta was spot on and we loved the cheese on top. The meatballs were stuffed with shitake mushroom and were huge and crispy on the outside. Really tasty, but the portions are quite small for $15. For a cafe style restaurant in Richmond, the prices are hard to compete even if the quality is there since there are so many options for diners.

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Ice Cream Party Bowl

We decided to go all out for dessert even though we were super full and got the Ice Cream Party Bowl. It’s recommended for a maximum of 4 people, but J is a huge dessert guy, so I was counting on him to finish this. Milk & Eggs is known for their homemade ice cream with many Asian flavours, such as durian and thai iced tea. We got M.E. Vanilla, Black Sesame, Thai Iced Tea, and Earl Grey. The flavours were all really strong and we especially liked the Thai Iced Tea. However, they can work on the consistency of the ice cream as it’s not creamy enough. As for all the decorations for the party bowl, I honestly didn’t really like it as they were too sweet with fruits and oreo cookies. Therefore, next time, I would just stick to the individual scoops of ice cream and skip the fancy party bowl.

Overall, service was friendly and attentive. Ambiance is dimly lit and very cozy for a restaurants in Richmond. However, I don’t know if I can justify coming back for dinner with some of the prices and portions you get. It’s hard to compete with chain restaurants and I feel like the clientele in Richmond just won’t pay these prices. However, I am excited about their ice creams as we really don’t have any homemade ice cream shops like Earnest Ice Cream in Richmond. Plus, they open late so it’s a great place to go for a date or hang out with friends.

Pros:
– Ice cream flavours are very strong
– Open late

Cons:
– Dishes for dinner are slightly on the pricey side

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Milk & Eggs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato