Manzo Itamae

Sukiyaki Beef Hotpot

Deep Fried Mango Ice Cream

I’ve been to Manzo Itamae a few times now, but this time we came for the Deep Fried Mango Ice Cream my friend was talking about. I started myself off with a Sukiyaki Beef Hotpot just cause I hadn’t tried it before and wanted something that wasn’t sushi. I got the small size, but it was enough for one person. It came with these clear noodles and lots of beef, tofu, and veggies. Not bad! And lastly, for dessert, we got what we came for. The Deep Fried Mango Ice Cream! The server poured the alcohol over the ice cream and lit it on fire. You can still see the flame in the picture. Pretty cool! As for taste, I wouldn’t say it was anything special. It was just mango ice cream that was encrusted. I also found that the alcohol was way too strong, which didn’t work too well with the dessert. I believe it was something like Soho, which has a lychee flavour to it, but the alcohol bitterness was still too strong for me.

Manzo Japanese Restaurant (Itamae) on Urbanspoon

Pho Tai Hoa

I actually never even knew Pho Tai Hoa existed to be honest, until my friend  brought me there. We wanted to go to Pho Hoa, which is on Alexandra, but of course parking was limited and we had to go somewhere else. So we ended up at Pho Tai Hoa, which is in the mall near Capstan Way. I never even realized this place at the corner! Well, now I know another Pho place to go to! The decor inside was really interesting. It had a lot of cruise ship decor, with painted sky walls, cruise ship railings, and wooden plank floors. I wonder if this was just the decor left from the previous restaurant or they designed it. Kind of weird actually…But okay, let’s get to the food. I usually get the House Special at Pho places, so I got a small Pho Dac Biet. I like getting House Specials since it usually includes an assortment of ingredients, from tripe, beef balls, beef tendon, to beef flank. It was alright, nothing too special about it, and the size was normal. Soup did taste a little different, but it wasn’t something that I extremely liked or disliked. Not bad I guess, but I will have to try their other food to get a better taste of this place. There were probably only 4 other tables occupied though, but then again, it was a weekday and a little early. Maybe I’ll give it another try!

Pho Tai Hoa on Urbanspoon

Lao Shan Dong Homemade Noodle House

Boiled Seasonal Vegetable

Braised Beef Flank with Noodle In Soup (Small)

Braised Beef Flank And Tendon with Noodle In Spicy Soup (Large)

After a early shopping trip at Metrotown, my friend brought be to a Taiwanese Noodle House nearby that was claimed to be really good. Apparently, it’s supposed to be the best Taiwanese noodles in Vancouver! To be honest, I think it wasn’t THAT amazing, but I have to say, the noodles are really good. You can tell that they’re handmade, and not like the ones you get at bubble tea places. The vegetables were a dish that I actually hadn’t had before. I’m not sure if it’s some typical Taiwanese dish, but it tasted really good. They had like bits of onion and garlic chips as well as a special sauce in it. Quite different from the Cantonese style dishes I’m used to. The size of a small was already very big, and when my friend’s large came, I was in shock. It was huge! That would probably be enough for two. The soup base was very good, and they say that there isn’t any MSG, which I trust, as I wasn’t thirsty afterwards. They have a lot of seasoned radish type of things on top which gave it a nice crunch while eating the noodles. Overall, pretty good, but I don’t know if it’s the BEST.

Lao Shan Dong Homemade Noodle House 老山東麵莊 on Urbanspoon

Hapa Umi

ALBERTA AAA BEEF TATAKI
Garlic ponzu, green onion oil, spicy daikon

Ahi Tuna

SCALLOP
Scallops, cucumber, ume mayonnaise, egg crepe wrapping

DYNAMITE
Tempura shrimp, green beans, mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce

KAKUNI AND SCALLOP
Soy-braised pork belly, seared scallop


WARM CHOCOLATE CAKE
Banana tempura, ginger caramel, coconut ice cream

I saw that there was a Groupon for Hapa Umi for $30 for $60 worth of food and thought that was a pretty good deal and decided to get it. Even though I had my Groupon, I really don’t think the food was worth its price. Portions were quite small, and there weren’t many choices to choose from on the menu. The sashimi selection was very limited and they didn’t even serve tuna toro. It seemed like they were trying to westernize their menu, so it wasn’t a lot of authentic Japanese food. Food was however quite fresh, and the desserts were okay. The beef carpaciccio was not bad, but nothing spectacular about it. I guess nothing was bad, but just not good enough to make me want to keep coming back. Going in with the perception that Hapa Umi was a higher end izakaya, which the ambiance gives and their price points prove to be, I was left disappointed and felt the food really wasn’t worth the price. I think if you want to go to a good izakaya place, I would recommend to go to Guu instead!

Hapa Umi 海 on Urbanspoon

Sauder Exchange Cafe

Mmmm I love samosas, and it’s always a great snack at school. I usually get them at the Delly in the SUB, but it was so far, so I just grabbed it at the Sauder Exchange Cafe inside the Henry Angus building at UBC. This one is a Beef Samosa – I’m guessing they have chicken and vegetarian as well. The pastry is not as thin as the one at the Delly, but I prefer the fillings in this one compared to the Delly. Also quite large in size! It is however,  quite oily, but nonetheless delicious!

Sauder Exchange Cafe on Urbanspoon

ensemble Restaurant and Bar

Prawn Cocktail

Black Cod with Pork Thai Broth – Bok Choy, Coriander, Chili Oil

Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio – Radish, Crisp Shallots, Rosemary Bannock

Beef Shin and Fritz – Carrot Purée, Watercress

Strawberry Soufflé

As a Top Chef fan, who got excited when we had Top Chef Canada, the discovery of ensemble Restaurant and Bar meant more excitement! Top Chef’s first Canadian winner Dale MacKay opened ensemble sometime last year in the spring, actually before Top Chef Canada was actually aired, and hearing pretty good reviews, I was excited to finally go try it out! Clearly, he did not disappoint! The Black Cod with Thai Broth had great flavour and the cod was cooked perfectly so that it was still moist. This was also top rated on his menu, and from what I remember, it was also featured on Top Chef. If you love carpaccio, the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio is a must try! It was probably my favourite dish that night. It was extremely fresh and the seasonings were great! Lastly, for dessert, the Souffle of the Day was a Strawberry Souffle, which I enjoyed a lot. Not only did it look pretty, but it was fluffy and light and I liked the hint of strawberry twist to it. It’s interesting to also note that if you go to their website, they call themselves a French Restaurant, but I have to say that the food is more like contemporary WestCoast food.

Ensemble on Urbanspoon

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant

Assorted Sashimi, including Salmon, Tuna, Hokkigai, Tako (Octopous)

Beef Sashimi

Lobster/Kani, Chopped Scallop, Shark Fin, Mirugai Nigiri Sushi

Tobiko, Toro, Unagi Nigiri Sushi

Dynamite Roll, Alaska Roll, California Roll, Chopped Scallop Roll

Fresh Oyster, Gomae, Agedashi Tofu, Fish Soup, Prawn Tempura

Yakitori (Chicken Skewer), Beef Short Ribs

I was flipping through an asian food magazine and found that a new restaurant called Kaneda Japanese Restaurant had opened on West Broadway. I hadn’t had all you can eat sushi for a very long time since I hate that feeling of stuffing myself just to get my money’s worth, but  I was definitely craving some this weekend. Decided to give it a try, but I have to say I was quite disappointed. I looked at the reviews and I saw that they had pretty good reviews, but I have to say that the food and service is not up to par. The food took extremely long to arrive and the order of food came in an awkward order. You would expect to get all your sashimi and salads first, but no, things like beef short ribs came before salmon sashimi was served. Salads as simple as gomae and shrimp sunomono took what felt like 30 minutes to come. You would assume that all you can eat places would have things like salad all prepared ahead of time since they need to send them out in bulk amounts. But no, they took forever, and they didn’t taste any better than other all you can eat places that served them right away. Our sushi was also all mixed up, or it was either that they didn’t have it and just substituted our food without asking. We ordered lobster nigiri sushi, but it tasted like imitation crab, and our albalone nigiri sushi never came, but something that was clearly chopped scallop, which we had not ordered, came. Would’ve appreciated if they let us know beforehand there wasn’t the items and they shouldn’t have just substituted it for something else. All the cook food, like skewers and agedashi tofu were pretty good though, and they presented the sashimi on a very nice platter. Food just took way too long to come though, and we had to even ask our server where our food was. He replied that there was only one chef preparing the sushi. Understaffed on a Saturday night? The restarurant wasn’t even full too though, so maybe that’s why. Service was just way too slow, and even when we asked for our bill, it took them 10 minutes to get it to us. Definitely not going back, but I have to say they have a large variety of food to choose from for all you can eat at around $25 a person.

Kaneda Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kumare

Lumpiang Shanghai
Deep fried bite sized pork spring rolls

Beef Mami
Beef, egg, spring onions, and vegetables

Inihaw na Pusit
Grilled squid

Pancit Langlang
Stir-fried vermicelli and egg noodles, diced chicken and pork, and assorted vegetables.

Leche Flan

Ube Macapuno Cake
Ube chiffon cake and cream cheese icing

This is my second time at Kumare now! First time, I have to admit that I had no idea what I was ordering and wasn’t ordering the right “Filipino” food, so this time, I brought a Filipino friend with me for lunch! First off, we got some spring rolls that were filled with pork. They were really good and the filling was quite different from the ones I normally eat. Then, there was the soup, which I found quite interesting. It had a lot of vegetables and it had a sour taste to it. Not something I would normally order, but it wasn’t too bad. The squid was really interesting, as it was filled with green and red peppers, and then it was grilled. I have never tried something like this before! It was delicious other than the parts that were grilled a little too much. Those parts had a burnt taste to it.  This time, my friend ordered noodles that were supposed to be Filipino – not those Pad Thai noodles I ordered last time that clearly were originated from the Malaysian and Thai Cuisine. The noodles were like vermicelli and had an interesting flavour to it. Quite delicious! And last but not least, I finally got to try their desserts, since Kumare also has a bakery section to the restaurant. I insisted on trying the Taro Chiffon Cake as I wanted to for the longest time, but my friend also suggested the Leche Flan, which is basically like a caramel pudding. So glad she ordered that because it was so delicious! Definitely one of my favourite desserts now! The Taro Cake was also not bad, as it had a nice taro flavour to it and the cream wasn’t too thick. It was also topped with some coconut that seemed to be freshly peeled off! Overall, it was a great experience having Filipino food.  I think I might have a better idea of what to order next time and I’m definitely coming back!

Kumare Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon