I had been wanting to try España for the longest time. The idea of small plates dining still appeals to my small appetite…being able to experience a bunch of flavours and textures in one meal without being committed to a single entree. But what if not every dish hits the mark? Have all the good cooks moved on to their sister restaurant, The Fat Badger?
The owners at Mui Ngo Gai on Kinsgway near Victoria Dr. really have their heart in the right place. The menu is varied, but not in an unfocussed, sprawling sort of way, but more of an adventurous, curious way. On paper this would be the kind of place that I’d die for, but unfortunately it’s held back a bit by spotty execution.
I’m posting this on Christmas Day, but I hope that you aren’t reading this on Christmas Day. You should actually be spending time with your family and loved ones instead of eating vicariously through me. Unless you’re lonely, then I hope that reading my Christmas experience gives you some holiday comfort.
The big reveal right away…this is a “Porkken”:
It’s a deboned chicken with stuffing, wrapped inside of a butterflied pork loin (including the baby back ribs), all wrapped in bacon. You already know Turducken, so please meet Porkken. Now read on for the story of how this all happened.
The latest entrant in the local craft beer sweepstakes has finally opened! Strange Fellows Brewing (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) is located on an industrial-feeling stretch of Clark Dr. between Grant and Charles (4 blocks south of Fujiya at Venables). Transit is a bit crap around that area, so I wonder if the beer’s good enough for me to make the effort? Iain Hill makes some great beer (Oud Bruin) but I felt like Yaletown Brewing was holding him back. Hopefully this new place will let him spread his wings more?
I don’t go to Hong Kong-style cafes that often, but when I do it really brings me to that special place…it’s like Asian comfort food. Cheap, big portions, can be a touch greasy, but with satisfying Cantonese flavours you know and love. Silver Tower Cafe Restaurant is a great example of HK-cafe style food that does the job and does it well.
Uchida in Victoria (next to the Bug Zoo and Miniature World) is my idea of what a humble eatery in a small Japanese town would be like: cooking up homestyle food using local ingredients, prepared simply with minimum fuss, and gentle seasoning that lets the ingredients speak for themselves. I’m not in Victoria very often (even less now that my sister moved back to the mainland) but I always try to eat at this lunch-only spot because I think it offers something that not even Vancouver has.
Ramen Jinya (or Jinya Ramen Bar, depending on where you look) is opening a new location in Kerrisdale possibly January or February 2015. Seeing that I still haven’t tried the original location of Ramen Jinya on the south end of Robson St., I hauled my ass through the rain and wind to get my fill of porky, ramen goodness. Man, was it good!
Zakkushi is the kind of place where you have to check your cheapness at the door and order with decadent abandon. Dining in Vancouver is getting really expensive, with $28 entrees becoming the norm. If you’re gonna pay that kind of money dining out, I’d kinda rather spend that money at a really fun place like Zakkushi where you can get a variety of meats on sticks, and get showered with Japanese liquor.
A newish Lebanese place called Jamjar opened up back in October on Commercial Drive, just down the block from St. Augustines. I love Persian food (Cazba, etc), eaten a lot at Abdul’s BBQ, and also Anatolia’s Gate. All the food at these places are quite different, and I find it pretty fun to explore the differences.