Thursday, 16 April 2015

Nagano: How about no.

It was a beautiful evening, so I decided to go for a stroll with OldBean. Upon nearing the end of our trip, I got hungry, and decided to give Nagano a second chance (also because it was the only sushi open nearby). The first time I came here (when they first opened), the sushi was falling on the side and there were a lot of bones in my sashimi.

Click to add a blog post for Nagano on ZomatoRestaurant: Nagano (visit their website here)
Location: 120-2918 Glen Drive, Coquitlam
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Price range: $15+ per person

Date of visit: April 16, 2015
Atmosphere: 3/5
Staff/service: 2.5/5
Food variety: 5/5
Food quality: 3/5
Buck worthy? 1/5

They were pretty friendly when we walked in, then I asked for take out. There was an older lady who was very nice and chatted with me while I was deciding what to get, and a younger lady who...gave me the stink eye. I don't know how I already offended her. Anyhow, I couldn't decide so I just got their Assorted Sushi B ($13.99). It wasn't a very busy night, but it took them over 20 minutes to get our order ready.

It looked pretty decent, the fish was fresh. There were 2 pieces Atlantic salmon, and one piece of tuna, tai, hokkigai, tamago, sockeye salmon, inari, and unagi. I was surprised at how dark the unagi was, it was quite dry and nearly black. I figured they burned it, which they did, but it was crispy! Rice to fish ratio is quite good, I liked it. Kinda confused with the sockeye salmon and hokkigai pieces as to how they were cut, but nonetheless it served to alleviate my sushi craving. Would I go back though? Maybe in another 5 years if they're still around. Or never again.

Small Victory: Friendly service, scrumptious baked goods!

Been super busy lately with finals and all, but since Urbanspoon and Zomato's merge, Zomato has reached out to bloggers to meet up to better understand the changes and get to know each other better!

Small Victory Bakery on UrbanspoonRestaurant: Small Victory Bakery (visit their website here)
Location: 1088 Homer Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Coffee, Baked goods
Price range: <$10

Date of visit: April 16, 2015
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 4.5/5
Food variety: 2.5/5
Food quality: 4.5/5
Buck worthy? 4/5

Today I met with Sophia who is the community manager from Zomato for their Vancouver base. Super lovely chatting with her, got to know more about her and Zomato/Urbanspoon and what the future holds! But first, lets talk food. I ordered a Latte ($3.75), which came promptly. Nice presentation, I like the little wooden planks they use, the geometry of the shapes work out neatly when placed together (a little thing that makes me happy haha). The latte was quite strong, coffee was aromatic, I'm not much of a coffee expert though =P This drink kept me up until 4am the next day. I guess that's some good, strong caffeine.

I also tried their Maple Walnut Scone ($4.25...? I forgot the price...cuz she didn't offer me a receipt). It was quite a large size and she offered to help me heat it up. Oddly enough, it didn't come with butter, but she did give me a knife. I was a bit confused, so I used the knife to cut the scone in half. My goodness this thing is dangerous. It was so moist, a little chewy, and fluffy. The exterior was crispy and the difference in texture combined well. A bit sweet for some people probably, but I loved it. The walnuts were chopped up with a bit of maple flavor and cinnamon. I've never had a more enjoyable scone before! Luckily this place is far from where I frequent, or I'm definitely going to become broke!

I stayed for a bit after our meetup to do some work, the waiters came around to clear the table and were very friendly. I like how bright and spacious the place is, made it feel more clean. I didn't notice any free wifi available though, so it's a bit harder to get work done without draining all your data. Otherwise, I enjoyed my visit here and meeting the wonderfully enthusiastic Sophia! Looking forward to great things and the future of blogging with Zomato!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Grand Palace 富豪酒家: Age discrimination is REAL

I remember coming here a lot when they first opened, but after a few rude services, we avoided this place. However, it’s an easily accessible location and nearby, so we decided to give it one more chance.

Grand Palace Restaurant 富豪酒家 on UrbanspoonRestaurantGrand Palace Restaurant 富豪酒家 (visit their website here)
Location: 2001- 1163 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam (Henderson Place, 2nd floor)
Cuisine: Chinese, Dim Sum
Price range: $10-15 per person

Date of visit: April 13, 2015
Atmosphere: 3/5
Staff/service: 2/5 (I'm averaging out how they treated my brother and us)
Food variety: 4/5
Food quality: 3.5/5
Buck worthy? 3/5

I came here with my family and the service was great! We even got complimentary egg tarts and XO sauce from the manager. The egg tarts were wonderful (there were four), the shell was flakey and melted in my mouth. Egg wasn’t too sweet or diluted, it made for a creamy mixture. However, one was a bit underdone; it was still watery in the middle.

Next, we got the Baked BBQ Pork Buns ($4.50). These were lightly sugared on top, which made for a bit of added sweetness and crisp to the bun. The bread itself was moist and chewy, and the BBQ pork inside was... average. It made for an overall good bun though.

It’s less common dish, but they had Steamed Shrimp & Peatips Dumpling ($5.50) here, so of course I ordered it. They came piping hot and delicious. The shrimp had nice crunch and there was a good mixture of peatips with the shrimp. The wrapping was nice and chewy too.

Their Sticky Rice with Dried Scallop Wrapped with Lotus Leaf ($5.50) came with three wrapped bundles. It was flavorful and the sticky rice cooked perfectly chewy. They mixed thin strands of dried scallop within the rice, which enhanced the flavors. There was a quarter of a salted egg yolk, pork, and sauce inside. It meets the norm.

For their larger dishes, we ordered a 2 Kinds of Rice Noodle with Dried Scallop & Enoki Mushrooms ($10.95). It was pretty big, the noodles were both cooked al dente and the flavors of the sauce soaked into the glass and rice vermicelli. There were enoki mushroom strands scattered around with some bean sprouts, carrots, and shiitake mushroom strands. It was nice and light, I quite enjoyed it.

Super fresh from the kitchen came our Deep Fried Tofu Stuffed with Shrimp ($5.50) from their monthly special menu (it’s not on the regular checksheet menu they give you to order dim sum). It looked... rather dainty on the dish but it was good quality. Crispy and golden exterior enveloped moist (and super hot) tofu and shrimp puree. There was good spring to the shrimp puree and the tofu was smooth. The sauce was something like a sweet/sour and mild spicy sauce you might find at a Thai restaurant. Definitely helped cut the fatty feel of fried foods and made it more appetizing.

I’ve always been a sucker for Deep Fried Minced Pork & Taro Dumpling ($4.95), and seeing one on the table next to us, we ordered one too. They were a bit disappointing. The exterior was flakey, but as it got close to the middle it was too dense for my liking. I could definitely taste the taro though. The minced pork inside was boring, too thick of a sauce surrounding the pork. It was also not that hot. *sadface*

Finally we had Steamed Black Cod with Chili Peppers ($4.95), and boy was this HOT. And by that I mean spicy. They sure weren’t kidding about the chili peppers! However, this was a good amount of fish, with some beancurd lining the bottom. The fish was steamed perfectly, smooth and buttery. Next time I’ll remember to skip the chili =P

Overall their food is acceptable, and the service was not bad (we’ve known the manager there for many years). I noticed their great organization and teamwork, making their service efficient and flow well. However, what steered us away previously was the owner prompting us to leave by slapping the bill down on our table prematurely whenever it was busy. It wasn’t busy today, so I can’t gauge if this practice has improved or not. Elephant found out though. They still do it. He went with some friends a couple days later and after ordering about $120 of food (quite a lot actually...) for 7 people, they had the bill slapped on their table and the owner holding a card machine at their table asking them who’s paying first—prematurely. They had only been there for 45 minutes, and were at least another good 45 minutes away from the restaurant’s closing time... so that was a really rude thing to do when clearly, dim sum is meant to be a sit down and chat kinda thing. I feel establishments like these who discriminate and deliver varying service depending on how much you order (we get pressured to order more if we don’t eat enough) and your age is unprofessional and has a lot of room for improvement. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s easily accessible for my grandma and her love for dim sum, I would definitely never be back. End rant.