Happy New Year!

Mon, Jan 2nd 2012 11:51 am
Happy New Year! 2012 at last. It's been a long ways coming.

This blog has been long neglected, but not forgotten. There was a massive upgrade in the works, but that's been put on the backburner for now. I'll get around to finishing it...eventually...someday...

And of course, some more food pictures!

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A first attempt at making 떡국, a traditional Korean rice cake soup made for New Year's Day.

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Forgot to move that water bottle cap.

The Food Photo Backlog

Mon, Feb 14th 2011 02:03 pm
Been a while, hasn't it? Here, have a ton of pictures of food.

Warning: Viewing this blog post in a state of hunger is not recommended.

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Kobe beef Japadog.
Not that good, to be honest. Definitely not worth however much it cost. Stick with the Terimayo or other ones.

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Takoyaki (top) and croquet.
Guu with Garlic (Thurlow and Robson).

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All-you-can-eat chocolate fondue.
Capstone Tea on Robson.

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Ramen (forget what kind--maybe shoyu?).
G-Men in Richmond.

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No Ramen, No Life!
G-Men in Richmond.

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Tomato Bocconcini Insalata.
Presto Cucina in White Rock.

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Tiramisu from 7 Sweet Sins in Old Chinatown.
Went on the grand opening day but the tiramisu was frozen pretty solid. Was very unimpressed.

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Selection of yakitori.
Zakkushi on Main.

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Pirikara Nikomi.
Zakkushi on Main.

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Ahi Tuna Steak.
Zakkushi on Main.

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'5 Rangers' pudding (from left: green tea, raspberry, original, black sesame, blueberry).
Guu at Aberdeen.

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Taka's Favourite Lunch (Eamon Roll and chef's choice of nigiri) and Albacore tuna.
Taka's Sushi in White Rock.

Bourbon Choco Coffee Biscuits

Mon, Jun 28th 2010 05:53 pm
While picking up some typical Korean snacks at the small convenience store by campus, came across this little-known Japanese snack, tucked in between the boxes of Choco Heim and French Pie:

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Anybody who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not one strong enough to pass up something that says "Choco & Coffee". Aside from that, to date, I don't know if there has been a Japanese snack that disappointed me, so expectations were fairly high.

After opening the box packaging, true to Japanese snack tradition, there was also a plastic packaging around the actual biscuits. Well, considerably less packaging than some other things I've tried, so it's not all bad. After opening it from one end, noticed that the biscuits were actually quite a bit thinner than expected. I was expecting something like a butter tart thickness or something, but that's probably too much for such a small package.

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Despite that, pulled out a couple to see if they were alternating coffee and choco, like on the box. But the next two were the same light-brown colour. Figured that the other ones would be at the other end (unfortunately), so I opened it from the other end, risking the biscuits going soft sooner from more air exposure. Sure enough, the chocolate ones were on the other end.

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The biscuits themselves are pretty generic, not too sweet and not really significant. Fairly crumbly though, as can be seen from the crumbs in the picture... But the coffee-flavoured creme inside was simply amazing. It's like they took coffee Haagen-Dazs, turned it into a solid creme at room temperature, and slathered it on a biscuit.

On the other hand, the chocolate biscuit was a little underwhelming. The chocolate is a little bit darker than milk chocolate, but not purely dark chocolate either. Still good, but not as fantastic as the coffee ones.

Not particularly sure if I'd get these Choco & Coffee Biscuits again, considering half of them were only 'okay'. Probably better to just get a pint of coffee Haagen-Dazs if I want that coffee goodness.

Lime Cheesecupcakes

Sun, May 23rd 2010 11:19 pm
There are a lot of restaurant mini-reviews that I have yet to put up. Really need to pick things up a bit here. =(

But in the meantime!

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It's not actually wet - just some condensation while it was in the fridge.

Decided to make cheesecupcakes. Most of the recipes I looked up required either sour cream or heavy cream on top of the cream cheese, which I think is excessive. Finally found one on Epicurious that didn't need either of those. We also happened to have plenty of limes thanks to a friend who brought them one time when he wanted to make mojitos, so I went for this Key Lime Cheesecake recipe.

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Baking time and temperature were adjusted enough to make up for the fact that the cake is in cupcake form and not a giant pan form. They turned out delicious regardless. But we learned to keep me away from making bacon or soup-filled dumplings...because apparently I suck at making those. But I can bake...? I guess.

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Stupid condensation, ruining my shot.

The Easter Candy Egg Test

Thu, Apr 8th 2010 06:05 pm
It's way after Easter, but I don't care because the candy is cheaper this way.

The Much-Anticipated (not really) Easter Candy Egg Test! After seeing Hershey's brand candy eggs in stores a few times, decided that it would make for an interesting comparison test. So took a trip to the nearby Walmart to buy some discounted candy on Monday (but they weren't really discounted), and picked up a small bag of Hershey's Eggies, Cadbury Mini Eggs, and just for the hell of it, Cadbury Mini Eggs All-Year edition. Didn't really think that the two Cadbury's would be any different since they're just different packaging, but one can never know for sure until it's been tested.

After stopping by Superstore a few days ago, also decided to grab some bulk no-name candy eggs and some Cadbury Micro Eggs (altogether 74 cents!) also for the hell of it.

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The roster.

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The starting lineup.
From left: Cadbury Micro, Cadbury Mini Easter, Cadbury Mini All-Year, M&M, Hershey's, no-name.

Hershey's Eggies/bulk no-name egg

It wasn't hard to determine that the bulk brand eggs are actually just the Hershey's Eggies, or at least something very similar to them. Essentially they were the same to me though, so I'll categorize them together for the sake of simplicity.

The shell has a slightly rougher texture with more crevices, though not noticeable unless viewed up close. Up close, it kind of looks like the moon's surface though. Tasty. The matte shell didn't leave too much of a residue-y feel on the fingers after handling. These eggs also didn't have as strong a scent from the outside. The shell isn't so much brittle but a little on the soft side, and has less of a noticeable flavour. It doesn't crumble as easily when biting off a part of the egg. On the inside, the chocolate is smooth and has a decent flavour that's not overpowering or overpowered by the shell.

The Verdict:
Overall, decent egg. Even the no-name brand. Maybe should have bought more of those for $0.44/lb.

M&M Speck-tacular Eggs

These were the obvious exceptions to the mostly-similar line-up, but I figured they deserved a chance too, considering I used to buy packs of M&M Regulars and just eat them by the handful.

The biggest difference other than the size is obviously the shell. It's smooth and shiny, unlike the rest, and has a nice speckled pattern (Speck-tacular, geddit?). There's also a much stronger flavour to the shell, and it's double-layered with the coloured part of the shell and a second inner layer of plain white shell. The thicker shell makes it a bit tougher to chomp on, but it doesn't crumble and the size makes it easier. The chocolate inside is much harder too, and not as smooth--more chunky. Tasted different from M&M Regulars too -- not as rich in flavour.

The Verdict:
Not as good as M&M Regulars, to be frank. Probably wouldn't pick them up even if they were the only eggs around, too.

Cadbury Mini Eggs, Easter and All-Year

The only eggs I ever ate until this test. Tried not to go into this experiment with a bias though.

These are smaller than the Hershey's, but the shells are similar. Cadbury's eggs have a slightly smoother outer shell, but they also leave a slight residue after touching. They also seem to fingerprint easier, which is weird considering they're not shiny. But I don't care about that when I'm about to eat it. The shell was a bit sweeter than the Hershey's, though, and had a more noticeable scent. They fractured after biting the end off and a large chunk of the shell fell off the chocolate after putting down the uneaten half. Inside, the chocolate is noticeably sweeter too. The texture is very smooth though and doesn't feel chunky like the M&M. Mixed with the shell, though, it has a bit of an overpowering sweetness overall, which undoubtedly would probably make me get sick of them faster.

And there really was no difference between the Easter version and All-Year except the packaging, which, incidentally, also comes in different weights (Easter is 39g, All-Year is 32g).

The Verdict:
Even though these were the kinds that I always used to eat, I find that the sweetness really is a bit overwhelming. I have a notorious sweet tooth, but even then, too much of the Cadbury's would get sickening pretty fast.

But even so, I'd probably go for these when I go looking for candy eggs just because they're what I'm used to and I'm not one much for change. Anyway I wouldn't eat too many of them all at once so it's not a big deal.

Cadbury Micro Eggs

The 'bonus' test subjects. They're still slightly different from the actual Mini Eggs though, so they also get a review.

The shells have more flavour in them than the Mini Eggs. It could also be because the eggs are smaller so the flavour seems more concentrated, though. The shell is also much more brittle, which also could be attributed to the smaller size. I'd imagine they're the same mixture for the shell and chocolate, just different molds. The chocolate is also sweet, similar to the Mini Egg. That's pretty much the same.

The Verdict:
One time I bought a big bag of these and ate them. A lot. They're still good though, and somehow I actually don't get sick of them as fast as the regular sized eggs. For some reason though, I think this bag of Micros are slightly bigger than the one I bought before... Either that, or I'm thinking of M&M Minis.

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Om nom nom.
Off-topic: need one of those mini macro-photo studio setups.

The Results

If I had to rank them, it'd probably go something like this:
  1. Hershey's Eggies

  2. Cadbury Micro Eggs

  3. Cadbury Mini Eggs

  4. M&M Speck-tacular Eggs

Again, despite the rankings, probably would go buy Mini Eggs next time, just because I grew up with them and they're what I'm used to. It's just too bad they made them available all year now because it gives it less of a 'special-ness'. Probably won't be complaining about that as much in September or something when I get a sudden craving for them.

KitKat Royal Milk Tea

Fri, Apr 2nd 2010 04:59 pm
Went to T&T yesterday to get something to drink after Japadogs, and at the cash counter, I saw this:

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KitKat in a box! Love the two guards at the bottom left.

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Back of the box.

Didn't know what it was, but knew I had to get it. So I did. After toting it around uselessly yesterday, finally got around to opening it today. There are two individual packages of KitKats inside the box.

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Typical Asian snack over-packaging.

The KitKats themselves look like white chocolate KitKats (if they ever made them -- for some reason I think they did but I can't remember). They smell completely different, though. They've got this interesting tea-like smell (really?!) that I find really pleasing. Consistency is about the same as white chocolate though, so it's probably just white chocolate with tea in the mix.

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They taste pretty much how they smell--like milk tea mixed with a bit of white chocolate. But it's amazing. The white chocolate is more subdued but the tea flavour isn't overpowering. It's a perfect mix and it was so tasty that I didn't even bother eating them the way I normally eat KitKats (nibble all the chocolate off and then eat a layer of wafer at a time). Needless to say, they were gone in just a couple of minutes.

Managed to stop myself from eating the other two bars. Will have to save those for later, until I can go back to T&T and buy more of these. Like, 5 boxes.

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Tell 'em how it is!

Japadogs Mini Review (Finally)

Fri, Apr 2nd 2010 04:25 pm
After all this talk of going, finally tried Japadogs yesterday. And this being Vancouver, it started raining once we got there.

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We went to the stand at Burrard St. and West Pender St., just a block from the Burrard SkyTrain station. It was right in front of the Scotiabank building, and thankfully it was still set up despite the weather.

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Kobe Beef sold out. =(

Sadly the Kobe Beef dog sold out, so we decided to get the Kurobata Terimayo and the Okonomi. I was tempted to try the Edamame for a while there, just because it looked fascinating, but I figured the "TOP Chef's Recommendation" was probably a better choice for a first time. While we waited for the dogs to cook, I took a look around the cart (while trying to avoid getting my phone wet while taking pictures -- hence the bad photo qualities).

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One of the signs propped up against the cart. Ice Cube!

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Guessing that these were the two people manning the stand for the day.

Finally, the dogs arrived!

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Kurobata Terimayo (L) and Okonomi (R).

The Kurobata Terimayo was surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting mayo and teriyaki sauce to go together so well, but there was something about it that made the tangy and salty work. Very thankful they had the sleeves with the closed ends for the hot dogs because the sauce began to dribble out of the end of the dog after a while. The sausage was decent, though I haven't tried any other street dogs recently so can't really compare it to anything. I think my sausage was smaller than the other one. =(

The Okonomi was also good, but it was a bit overpowering with the mayo somehow. This may have been because I'd tried the Terimayo first and was used to the saltier taste mixed in with the mayo. The bonito flakes did add some salt to it, but the mayo flavour was still pretty strong. Adding a little bit of wasabi to the mayo would have made this one golden. I still enjoyed it anyway.

Kind of glad that we tried the dogs here instead of at the store front (which they said is supposed to open at the end of this month...). Eating them under cover of the Scotiabank building just made it all the better somehow.

Kushi Box Micro Review

Sun, Mar 28th 2010 09:55 pm
Today would have been the day I tried Japadogs for the first time. Or it was supposed to be. It didn't really pan out the way I'd hoped.

Arrived downtown at around 12:30 in the afternoon -- perfect time to go get some lunch. After walking a bit confusedly around the Stadium station area, managed to get to the store front of Japadogs, only to find that they're still not open, despite the site saying they'd be open by the end of March.

That wasn't so bad, considering there was also a place called Kushi Box a couple doors down. It's a small take-out place owned by the same people as Zakkushi (which I've done a mini-review of) -- basically a trimmed version of the full restaurant, and take-out only.

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The skewer sticks are in the clear plastic container to the right after we devoured them.

We shared the Spicy Tsukune Box, Combo B with two P-Toro skewers. Maybe I was just starving, but it was quite alright. A little bit salty from the soy sauce we poured on, but not bad otherwise. Since it's a take-out place, didn't expect it to be extravagant. The skewers were amazingly tasty though. So much, in fact, that I devoured mine before taking a picture.

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It was tastier than it looks.

After Kushi Box, we headed out to go searching for the Japadog cart on Burrard and Pender. And this being Vancouver, it started raining (sprinkling) along the way. Upon arrival at Burrard and Pender, we discovered that the cart actually isn't open on Sundays...which completely sucked. So we tried to go find the other one, but figured that it probably wouldn't be open either, and so began our search for another restaurant.

Along the way, we walked by Book-Off, a Japanese used book store. After another friend took me there once, it was almost unavoidable for me to walk in there. Managed to pick up a decent book as well, which I'm pretty happy about, despite it missing the DVD that it was originally supposed to come with.

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Still don't really know what the actual title is.
But I like the pretty pictures.

In the end, went to Aberdeen and ate at Chef Hung's (also did a mini-review of their Taiwanese beef noodle). I was craving the noodles for some reason, so at least I ate something I wanted to have. And despite all that, still didn't get to try the famed Japadogs. Will probably have to go back downtown on a weekday to try them. Or hope that the store front opens soon.

Downtown Adventures Part 2

Mon, Feb 22nd 2010 01:24 am
Super Sunday! Or so we'd hoped.

The fateful Canada vs. USA game...ended in disappointment.

We headed down to try and get into LiveCity Downtown for the game, but the line was much longer than any of us had expected. After standing around and trying to watch on a crappy screen on the side of some canvas tent thing (with bars across the screen), we began to wander around in search of a good visible TV screen. Some of the places we ended up were Future Shop, 'in line' in front of a bar, on the other side of an outdoor makeshift bar thing with clear plastic tent walls, outside the windows of some other pubs, and then finally Robson Square (GE Plaza, where the zip line is). There was a large screen there and a pretty large crowd. I stood up on a stone block so I could see quite alright, though there were moments in the game I wish I hadn't seen. Later we found out that our feed was actually delayed a bit since we heard people down the street cheering, and then five seconds later we finally saw the goal.

Downtown wasn't as lively as it had been on Friday, and I can only assume that's because it's Sunday night and people have to go to work or school tomorrow. It's still pretty insane regardless. Maybe the line up at the 'Olympic Superstore' won't be as bad on a weekday in the morning or afternoon. Will have to check that out sometime. On that note, seriously wanting one of those HBC Team Canada hoodies or jackets. Curse me and my inability to think ahead. =( Hope I can at least pick up some mittens.

Downtown Adventures Part 1

Sat, Feb 20th 2010 01:26 am
Took my first trip to the downtown area since the games started. Knew it would be crazy, but I never imagined it would be this crazy. It reminded me of Toronto in so many ways, except that the streets were much wider and much easier to walk on (the streets that were blocked off from cars, anyway).

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View from the balcony.

The first hurdle was getting onto the SkyTrain. A friend has a new condo right beside (and I mean right beside, as in around the corner from the entrance to the complex) Stadium station, so getting there wasn't a big deal. Getting inside was a bit more of a pain, since one of the entrances was blocked off so we had to go around. Getting on a train was a whole other issue. That definitely reminded me of the TTC during rush hour, an experience I'm not fond of and definitely not used to in Vancouver.

After getting off at Granville station, decided to try and check out the 'Official Olympic Store' at the Bay, but the lineup was reminiscent of Disneyland lines so that was a pass. Met up with some other friends instead and wandered around for a bit and made our way slowly down to Robson. Sat around the square for a while, listened to a bit of a band called Hey Ocean! before the fireworks/pyrotechnic show started at 11. That was quite fun to watch and will have to go back again for it when I've got a camera that's not low on batteries.

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During the fireworks/pyrotechnic show.

Getting back onto the SkyTrain was a disaster. And of course, we were close to the doors since we were only going one stop...but the platform was on the other side of the train. People kept pushing to get onto the train when we were trying to get out. A huge mess all around.

The entire city will be very hung over in two week's time after this constant partying for two weeks. But I don't mind it. Then again, I'm not one of the people who lives in the apartments on Robson. Heh.
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