Iris and I spent a night in Vancouver last week and, as always, tried to see how many places we could fit into one trip. Here’s a little mini-review for each stop. If you count chocolates as well, we managed to get about twelve stops in, including Roger’s and Purdy’s, which I should save for another post. I could write a small book on chocolate shops of the world. 🙂
Deer Garden Signatures (www, yelp)
This place was busy! The soup was good, but the number of options could be overwhelming. I orderd the fried fish cakes & ramen in fish soup base. The fishcake was excellent. The ramen might not have been the best match, but was cooked just right for ramen (at least for my white-guy tastes). The soup was light, not too salty with a nice flavor. Iris got a mix with cuttlefish ball that also didn’t disappoint. Menus featured English. Bonus for me and not a guarantee in the Richmond area. This place is just north of Lansdowne Centre tucked away on the second floor of a small strip mall, with classic Richmond parking hassles.
Screamers Soft Serve & Treats (www, yelp)
Dole whip pineapple ice cream. Yes, it’s the same stuff you get at Disney parks and at the Dole plantation in Hawaii, and yes it’s just as good. Refreshing, light, and creamy with a light tanginess. Only complaint: limited hours. We tried to go a few months ago, last time we were in town, and they hadn’t opened for the season yet.
One other amusing thing we saw around Steveston were these signs that clearly suggest that Steveston is a fishing village first and foremost (and you can walk right down to the boats to buy the fresh catch right at the dock)
Dinesty (www, yelp)
This place is hit & miss. This was our second time, and it was more of a miss. We checked with a few friends as well, and they had similar experiences. Here’s the scoop: The food is good, but not outstanding. The service is rough at best. We had to try multiple times to flag down wait staff, our tea cups sat empty on the edge of the table unless we explicitly asked for more. Even getting the bill at the end of the meal was a bit of a chore. We ordered xiao long bao, pan-fried dumplings, and tea-roasted duck. The XLB were reasonably good, but the skins were just a bit doughy. The pan friend dumplings were a bit on the dry side, perhaps overcooked but certainly not bad. The duck was also just a bit on the overdone & dry side. I’m splitting hairs a bit though, and may be a bit harsh since they compare most closely to Din Tai Fung in many ways, but don’t seem to quite have the consistency down. 4/5 for food, 2/5 for service.
Also known as egg puffs. This little food court stall in Aberdeen mall is the best place we’ve found in Richmond to get this Hong Kong classic. They have plenty of flavors, but if you’re anything like me, don’t bother. We’ve had the chocolate before, and it’s fine (the flavor reminds me a bit of coco puffs) but the original is where it’s at. Amazingly, we walked up and ordered and were handed a bag immediately. I was shocked since this place usually has a good wait, and they did have a line going. I was not going to stop and ask questions. Yum!
Iris owes you a write up on this one, since I didn’t help. Hopefully she’ll come back through and fill in the details a bit. The only thing I can tell you is that if you’re looking at the bubble waffle place and turn around, you can’t miss it. 🙂
Lido (bing, yelp)
The is the classic, quintessential Hong Kong breakfast place: great congee, great milk tee, Chinese donuts and pineapple buns. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if they had a custard filled bun. You can get it stuffed with about a 1/4 stick of butter though, if you like. Even though the place was packed and everybody was hustling, the owner seemed very friendly, and managed to chat just a bit with the customers. It was a nice contrast to the hustled chaos at Dinesty. I’m not a milk tea person, but Iris tells me this is just about as good as it gets.
Powell Street Fest – This Japanese themed street festival included lots of stuff, including food. We ambled past the vendors and demonstrations, stopping to look at an ornate shrine that had been wheeled in, and proceeded to the waffle tent. The cinnamon waffle was amazing. Or at least I thought so. Iris passed. More for me. We then turned around and there was a vendor selling small cups of chocolate. When we walked up, he basically started giving us tiny samples of everything until we stopped him to buy something (and he had about 20 different flavors including mango chocolate and macha). When we god home, I realized that our coffee and dark chocolate squares included rum and brandy in the ingredient list. We weren’t in danger of getting drunk on them, but it was an amusing surprise.
A&W Root Beer – Fast food. The café at gastown area has cute little baskets and chilled mugs though, which made it a nice mid-day snack.
Tim Hortons – Can you please open up in Seattle? Pleeeease?