The Fish Shack (Happy Hour)

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Fish Shack is part of the Glowbal Group of restaurants. It is one of their more casual restaurants and is located conveniently on Granville Street. We decided to go for happy hour, which is between 2:30 and 5:30 pm. They have a small patio, but it was already filled since it was a sunny day. We ended up sitting indoors.

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The interior is modern with red, black, and brown as their colour theme. They have a huge chalkboard listing the different types of fish, which was pretty cool.

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Captain Jack’s Lemonade
During Happy Hour, there are select drinks for $5. Everyone at my table decided to go for the featured cocktail, which was Captain Jack’s Lemonade. This had Jack Daniel’s whiskey, triple sec, fresh lemon juice, and syrup. It was actually very sweet and tasty. You could barely taste the alcohol.

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Red Truck Lager

For myself, I had the Red Truck Lager, which was 20 oz. I later realized that their draught beers are usually around $6 for a 20 oz anyways, so I didn’t think it was that great of a deal. A 10 oz is roughly $4, so the restaurant is an affordable place to grab a drink.

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Kusshi Oysters

I wanted to try Fish Shack’s Happy Hour because they have oyster specials. During Happy Hour, their specials include their featured oysters, sawmill bay, kusshi, and okeover. All are 50% off their regular price. The Kusshi Oysters after discount were roughly $1.50, so a pretty good deal, since they are usually on the pricier side or not featured during happy hour. They were small, but quite fresh and sweet. I probably only had one that had a bit of shell in it, so the shucking was done quite well.

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They also provide a variety of sauces for the oysters. Their are your traditional mignonette with shallots and cocktail sauces. Then there was one that was a spicy thicker sauce. It gave a kick, but not too overpowering. The last sauce, I couldn’t really figure it out. It wasn’t that good though.

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Salmon and Crab Cakes

During Happy Hour, they also feature a list of items which are 50% off their regular price. We shared the Salmon and Crab Cakes, which came with a chipotle tartar sauce. You don’t usually find the cakes mixed with both salmon and crab, so I found this to be a nice change. However, I don’t think it was executed too well. There could have been more seasoning, the meat seemed to be overcooked.

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Fish and Chips

S got his favourite Fish and Chips, which featured battered ling cod, fries, tartar sauce, lemon & a coleslaw. This was a pretty good deal, at a little more than $5 after the discount. However, I thought the batter was fried to a really dark golden brown. Seemed like the oil being used was old…

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Creole Fish Tacos

For myself, I got the Creole Fish Tacos. The flour tortillas were filled with battered fish, avocado, lime, sour cream & fried onions. An order comes with two tacos and fries. This came to around $6 after discount. I found these to be quite sloppily made. The fish were also bits of fish, rather than a whole piece of fish being fried. Felt like this might’ve been scraps of leftover fish… I guess it’s okay for the price, but I wouldn’t pay full price for it.

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Popcorn Shrimp

Lastly, we also shared the Popcorn Shrimp, which comes with a house-made cocktail sauce. The batter on these shrimp were not crispy, but rather soggy. I felt like I could get better ones at the supermarket where you baked them yourself…

Overall, I was quite disappointed with the food at The Fish Shack based on the items we tried at Happy Hour. The oysters and drinks however were quite a good value and the oysters were fresh. Service was also quite poor. The server didn’t seem too friendly and it was really difficult to get their attention when we needed service.

Pros:
– Oysters are fresh and good value at Happy Hour
– Drinks are reasonably priced

Cons:
– Food we tried at Happy Hour was pretty bad
– Service was poor and unfriendly

Price Range: $20-25

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

Food: 2 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 2

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Sushi Daidokoya すし台所家 (Shibuya) – Tokyo

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Sushi Daidokoya is located in Shibuya and literally just by the corner of our apartment. Every time we walk past it, there are people in it. For me, it’s always a good sign when I see people inside a restaurant. It’s open from the morning until late night. During the day, they have some pretty good deals like Chirashi-don. Wish I had tried that… Anyways, after a tiring day in the sun, we decided to head down to grab a late night snack.

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Sushi Daidokoya offers kaiten sushi, or more familiarly known as conveyor belt sushi! However, at the time we arrived, there weren’t too many sushi on the conveyor belt. Instead, we were told we could just tell the chef what we wanted and they would place the order. Pricing is determined by the colour of the plate. Luckily, a Japanese couple sat next to us and were able to speak English fluently. They were able to give us some tips on what was good!

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The server gave us an English menu with pictures. Most orders come in two and are very well priced. Some items are pricier than at the Standing Sushi Bar (my personal favourite), but some are cheaper. Really depends on what you order. It ranges from 120 yen to 500 yen.

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Maguro – Tuna (120yen)

The tuna did not look as nice as the one at the Standing Sushi Bar, but was still very fresh. Cheap price tag too!

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3 Types of Grilled Fish (500 yen)

We ordered the 3 types of grilled fish, which were as named, all slightly seared on the top. I didn’t try all of them, but I had the one in the middle. I believe it was aburi salmon. Not bad!

 

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Grilled Fatty Salmon – Aburi Toro Salmon (240 yen)

The grilled fatty salmon comes in two as well, but someone ate the piece too quickly! This piece of salmon was more fatty than the previous one. It was lightly seared and topped with some wasabi. It melted in your mouth! Loved it!

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Tamago

The Japanese couple recommended us to try the Tamago. Here, the tamago are in thick blocks and filled with other ingredients like sausage! It was really yummy! Not your regular tamago.

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Scallop – Hotate (240 yen)

The scallop were thick and fatty. Again, I found that they put much more wasabi in the scallop nigiris. I wonder why… Still good!

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Sea Urchin – Uni (240 yen)

Say what? Sea urchin nigiri for only 120 yen a piece? That’s equivalent to roughly $1.20 in Canadian! However, we were slightly disappointed. It wasn’t as fresh and had a fishy taste. They also had the Supreme Sea Urchin on the menu for double the price though… Perhaps we should’ve gotten that instead?

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Yellow Tail – Hamachi (120 yen)

Yellow tail can be quite pricey in Canada, but this was a steal! I didn’t get a chance to try this one, but the girls said it was pretty good!

 

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Octopus – Tako (120 yen)

I tried the Octopus, which was very good. Normally, octopus can be slightly too chewy. However, this one was more tender than tough.

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Horse Meat – Sakura (500 yen)

Um ues, this was horse meat. Raw horse meat to be exact. I know it may be a taboo in many countries, but it isn’t something too rare in Japanese cuisine. Topped with a bit of ginger, you can still see some of the fat. I took a nibble from the meat and found it to be very gamey. It sort of reminded me of lamb. K ate it and said it wasn’t terrible, but not something she loved. Apparently, they serve raw whale meat here too…

 

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Raw Octopus – Namadako (240 yen)

Lastly, we had the Octopus. I found that it reminded me of cuttlefish. It’s not live octopus, so don’t worry about the suction cups like in Korea… I liked the bouncy chewy texture. Yummy!

Overall, Sushi Daidokoya is great if you want to try a large variety of fish. They also have specials written on signs on the conveyor belt, but it’s mostly in Japanese. If you’re daring and want to try some exotic items you are unlikely to find in America, then this is the place to go! Prices aren’t too bad either and the chefs are very nice even though they don’t speak too much English.

Noordzee Mer du Nord – Brussels

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Following a week of school, which was also my last week of school, the weekend came and off I was to another country again! C, a foodie from Hong Kong and I had planned this trip around a month ago. We found flights for 30 euros round trip from Barcelona to Brussels and we couldn’t say no! Belgian waffles, chocolate, fries, beer, mussels… yup no foodie would say no to such a cheap flight! Obviously, it wasn’t a fancy flight with Ryanair, but we’re pretty much used to those early morning, pass out on the plane flights. When we arrived at the airport, which I believe isn’t their international one, we had to take a bus to the city center. Then once there, we took a metro and arrived at our guesthouse which I’ll talk about more in later posts. We dropped off our backpacks and off we went to explore the city. It was a shame that it was raining in Brussels most of the time we were there, but at least it wasn’t pouring rain. We walked by Noordzee Mer du Nord and C pointed out that she had read it was a must visit! With crowds eating there even in the rain, we knew it must’ve been good! The place has no seats, but only a long bar table along the kitchen, or some stand up tables pitched with tents to cover you from rain. No seats though.

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Their kitchen is open, so you can watch them prepare the food.

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Fish Soup

The famous item that we saw everyone getting was the Fish Soup. This was absolutely delicious since it was a chilly, rainy day and something hot was perfect! However, we did find that the soup was more like a vegetable minestrone soup. There were fish pieces inside, but the vegetable soup was so strong that it covered any fish flavour. The best part was the side of bread that had some sort of mayo and cheese on top. We asked the man how to eat this, and he said do whatever you want! He said he usually threw the whole piece in, so we did too! That was awesome because the cheese would melt right away in the soup, and the mayo gave the soup some creaminess. So good! Another two slices of just plain bread was also complimentary for each soup. A must try!

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Grilled Scallops

We also decided to get another dish and chose the Grilled Scallops. Mer du Nord’s menu is basically all seafood since they are known for their fresh fish and seafood. We decided to go for the Grilled Scallops, which are by piece and quite pricey. Sadly, we were a bit disappointed in them. Not that they weren’t fresh or grilled perfectly, but that the flavour of the sauce wasn’t too appealing for us. It was more of a onion based sauce, and we had imagine something like a white wine or garlic sauce. Something was a little odd about the sauce, or we just weren’t too accustomed to this type of flavour. Nevertheless, the scallops were extremely fresh and cooked well.

Overall, Mer du Nord is definitely worth checking out when in Brussels. It’s sort of like a quick place to grab a bite without having to sit down. The food is fresh and of good quality, although I find that the prices are a little pricey. However, other than tourists, you find many locals here. They come here for a glass of wine with their fish soup and select a variety of other seafood dishes. Everything looked delicious!

Pizzas L’avia – Barcelona

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There are always plenty of things to do in Barcelona, and one afternoon, we decided to visit Montjuic. Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona and very close to the city center. In fact, you can hike up to it just by walking up from Plaza Espanya. From the Palau Nacional, which houses the Museum of National Art of Catalunya, this is the beautiful view you get of the city. If you continue up the hill, or choose to take the bus, you will reach the top of Montjuic where you will find a fortress.

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After our mini hike, U took us to Pizzas L’avia. It’s in the El Ravel neighbourhood, which is sometimes known to be a little dangerous at night. Her brother said that the little shop is great for cheap local food, so we took the adventure to check it out before it got dark. The place doesn’t look the most amazing on the outside, but the food is great and cheap!

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I love how they actually make their paella in a giant pan. It was the first time I actually saw such a big paella pan in person.

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They also have a bunch of other dishes and desserts. Yes, the dishes are not exactly fresh, since they are pre- made, but freshness wasn’t really a big factor in making these dishes delicious.

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They are famous for their Empanadas. We chose the Honey Empanada and Spinach Empanada. They were warmed up in their oven and filled generously. A great value for only around 1,30 euros each!

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I guess someone also got a Salad… Typical salad, nothing difficult in making this one.

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We got the Prosciutto and Cheese Pizza. Their pizzas are quite interesting. They don’t really dig a hole in the middle to put the fillings in. Instead, they just place the toppings right on top, so you don’t exactly get a crust on the side. The pizza was really delicious though! Extremely fluffy and although the ingredients are basic, they really work well together.

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We also got two dishes of the Paella. It’s not the best paella I’ve had, but it tasted really local and I liked how it wasn’t too saucy. The rice was a little overcooked, but I actually liked it since I find that some of the other restaurants cook it too al dente. There was an abundant of seafood such as shrimp and mussels in it.

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U said that the Bacalao here is amazing. It’s a very common dish for the Spanish, and it’s basically cod fish topped with lots of tomato sauce. This one also had eggplants and other vegetables. I found the sauce to be very similar to a ratatouille. I really enjoyed this as the sauce was actually sort of sweet!

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Lastly, we had another fish dish, and I actually found this very similar to the Bacalao, but with less sauce. I couldn’t really tell the difference, other than the fact that it was more deep fried. Tasted like cod to me too…

Overall, Pizzas L’avia is a great place to check out if you want to try some local food and at a cheap price. You can also get some of the items to go.

Chambar

Iced Tea Infused with Rose Petals

Carpaccio de Chevreuil

Charred venison carpaccio, sesame soba noodle salad, pickled radishes, white soy & red wine reduction, garlic chips

L’omble de l’Artique nicois

Crispy Arctic char, sea asparagus, pea shoots, bacalao, lemon & grana padano concasse, tapanades

Moules Frites Vin Blanc

Mussels, white wine, butter, braised celery & leeks, coarse black pepper

Salted Chocolate Caramel Bar

Lemon Curd, Toasted Meringue, and Shortbread

Alright! Finally have my last post from Dine Out Vancouver 2012 in! I was so excited when I got reservations for Chambar since I’ve been hearing really good things about it! I guess it lived up to the reviews, but then again, I think I went in with too high of an expectation, so I only came out “satisfied”. But nonetheless, very good food! The Ice Tea was actually a special drink that wasn’t on the menu. I wanted an ice tea but they didn’t actually have it on the menu, so the bartender basically mixed up something for me and it was actually really good since it was rose infused! Something I hadn’t had before and pretty cool and of course good! Next, for appies, we got the carpaccio which was very fresh, and the soba noodle with the carpaccio was an interesting complement! It was of course presented very nicely too! The arctic char had a very nice texture and the fish was cooked very well. The sauces, like the olive sauce were kind of weird though. Wasn’t something I preferred. The mussels were pretty good, although they were overloaded with cilantro, and I have to say I dislike cilantro a lot, so it kind of ruined the dish for me. The mussels were really small, but extremely sweet, so that was good. Fries were just okay, nothing too special. Lastly, for desserts we had the caramel bar and lemon meringue. The caramel bar was kind of salty (well it was supposed to be), but I guess it’s just that I don’t extremely like salted chocolate. When you try to break it on the plate, it’s extremely hard and difficult to cut, but when you put it in your mouth, it just melts apart! And the good thing is it doesn’t stick to your teeth! The lemon meringue dessert was probably my favourite dish of the night. It almost tasted like a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. So delicious and you don’t see it on many menus around. Overall, I was quite satisfied with Chambar! For $38 for a 3 course meal, it was definitely worth it. It is quite pricey normally without dine out though, so perhaps I will only go back for a special occasion!

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ABC Cafe

Vermicelli in Fish Soup with Fish Tofu and Beef

Black Pepper Spaghetti

Wandered around Aberdeen to decide what to eat, and ended up ABC Cafe again. This is my second time and it was a lot more empty than during their grand opening. I decided to try their “Make your own noodle soup” menu and was quite surprised that the portion was quite large. Overall, it was pretty good, with quick service and decent food.

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Crab House at Pier 39 San Francisco

Fish and Chips

Steamed Mussels

Crab Cakes

Went to the Crab House in San Francisco, and it was right by Pier 39! It had an amazing view of the Fisherman’s Wharf and the decorations inside the restaurant were funky! All sea-related things hanging off the ceilings and walls. The seafood was extremely fresh and tasted delicious! Too bad I didn’t get to try the crabs they were famous for. I saw many other tables around us order them and it was funny because they were given bibs to wear!

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Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco

Tropical Smoothie

Mango, Passion Fruit, Pineapple and Coconut All Blended with Ice.

Pasta Carbonara

Spaghettini with Smoked Bacon, Green Peas, and a Garlic-Parmesan Cream Sauce.

Mahi Mahi Mediterranean

Crumb Crusted Fresh Mahi with Tomatoes, Artichokes, Capers,Fresh Basil and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Served over Mashed Potatoes.

Grilled Rib-Eye Steak

Served with French Fries and Onion Strings. Also Available Cajun Style – Marinated for 36 Hours in Spices and Herbs.

Filet Mignon

Our Most Tender Steak. Served with French Fries and Onion Strings.

White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle

Creamy Cheesecake Swirled with White Chocolate and Raspberry.

Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake

Moist layers of Red Velvet Cake and our Original Cheesecake covered with our special Cheesecake Factory cream cheese frosting.

Cheesecake Factory can be found all over the States, so if you live in Vancouver, you can head down to Seattle nearby to try it! The portions are extremely large for the price you pay. Line ups are always a little long, but it’s worth it. Be sure to leave room for their famous cheesecakes or get take-out! The cheesecakes are so delicious!

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