Friday, October 31, 2014

The Hide Out Cafe

  I've been trying to eat healthier as of late. "How's that going for ya Selina?" Not so well LOL. Yes, health food can be delicious, but it really limits your options, especially when you're a food blogger LOL. Nobody wants to read about quinoa and kale all the time haha (though I could happily live off that stuff!)

   I reallyy wanted some pizza yesterday LOL but since I am trying to be healthier haha, I decided against it! Plus I still feel constipated from the poutine I had at the Spud Shack a few days ago hahaha. Yes, I'm easily constipated LOL!

  Since I've been on a New West binge lately haha (as you can tell from my posts) I decided to check out this cute local cafe called the Hide Out! According to Mijune (FollowmeFoodie), this place has the best wraps in the entire city! I love Mijune, and I love wraps, so obviously I had to try this place out lol! It's just a short 2 min walk from the skytrain station, which makes it super convenient for me, since I ride the skytrain everyday lol (such is the life of a student.)

Mango Chicken Wrap $11 Combo
Wrap 3.5/5 stars
Salad 3/5 stars

  This counts as eating healthy right? LOL! The salad didn't have any dressing on it, so that counts for something right? The wrap was seriously huge though!! Gigantic, and stuffed to the brim with good stuff. Good thing I only ordered half lol! The mango Chicken wrap was stuffed with mango, lean pieces of chicken, feta cheese, and spinach! It was rather mushy but very well flavoured. I liked how they grilled the wrap so it was warm on the inside. The salad was basic, topped with some cheese, and salt. You also have the option to get their soup of the day as a side instead of a salad!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

La Grotta Del Formaggio

  Last time I visited Donald's Market in the Quay, I totally missed this gem of a sandwich shop because I was too preoccupied with looking at the goodies in Donald's Market LOL!! They don't really advertise the fact that they have paninis, except for the tiny sign below their name! If it wasn't for yelp lol, I wouldn't have ever discovered this place! Apparently La Grotta Del Formaggio has another location in Vancouver which is super popular! 

  The lady working there was super nice and accommodating! Since it was my first time there she explained to me that I could build my own panini by choosing all the ingredients. After I had ordered, she told me that it would be a 10 min wait, so I went around the store exploring. When she was done, she even came to find me to give me my sandwich, which I thought was really nice of her! :)

Build your own panini $5 for 1/4
Proscuitto, provolone, sun dried tomatoes, smoked turkey, ham, with pesto mayo
4/5 stars
  This combination of flavours worked beautifully!! I really wished I had ordered the 1/2 size, cause after I had finished it, I wanted more! The proscuitto was yummy and well seasoned! The turkey and ham pieces were tender, and moist. The sun dried tomatoes added an extra dimension of tanginess. The addition of pesto mayo went really well with the other flavours!The bread was nicely toasted and not too thick.

I also got a drink to go with my lunch! Aloe Gloe is the real deal: they use real, organic aloe! Unlike most of the aloe drinks you find at asian supermarkets LOL which use artificial aloe!! 

And I got some treats from Donald's Market for snacking later heheh...
A chocolate maple truffle bar, and some key lime gluten free cookies! :D

My view during lunch..I love you New Westminster!! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ki Sushi

  Woww, I haven't had sushi in weeks LOL. Not since my visit to Van Ya last month! I've heard alot about Ki Sushi having the *best* sushi in New Westminster. Well, there aren't that many places for sushi in New West anyways haha.

  When I went during lunch, this place was packed! The first thing I noticed was that the servers/chef all spoke Mandarin and Cantonese! I was seated at the counter so I was eavesdropping on their conversations the whole time heheh ;)    

  Not going to lie, for a Chinese run place, Ki Sushi really impressed me LOL! The food I tried was on par with most midrange Japanese and Korean run sushi restaurants! For me, as long as the food's well executed and properly made, I could care less who it was made by haha! Although authenticity can be a huge selling the end of the day, it's the quality and taste that really matters!
Deluxe Sashimi Combo $13
  This combo was a total steal! For $13 I really wasn't expecting this much food lol, because in the picture, the portion sizes looked so much smaller! That's why I ordered an extra oyster motoyaki lol, cause I thought it wasn't going to be enough...I was wrong LOL!
Assorted Sashimi
3.5/5 stars
   The combo came with 3 pieces of tuna, 2 pieces of salmon, and 3 pieces of hamachi. The cuts were neat, and all the same size. Everything tasted pretty fresh (by frozen standards) and the sashimi pieces were defrosted so they weren't overly icy.

4/5 stars
  I wasn't expecting alot of tempura, but the combo actually came with a ton! There were two pieces of shrimp, 1 yam, 1 zucchini, 1 pea, and 1 pumpkin. The tempura was light and crispy, just the way tempura batter should be! The exterior wasn't overly greasy or soggy at all!
Assorted Nigiri
3/5 stars
  The sushi rice was well shaped and tightly packed, exhibiting a strong sour undertone. The cuts of fish were standard, rather fresh tasting, and smooth to the touch.
Oyster Motoyaki
2.5/5 stars
  The motoyaki was topped with a heavy layer of butter and japanese mayo. Really flavourful, and the addition of spinach added a little something extra. The oyster was nicely charred at the corners which came it an extra layer of smokey flavour.
California Roll
3/5 stars
  The combo also came with two small pieces of their california roll! The avocado they used was fresh, and the imitation crab meat was firm and not mushy. It was light on the mayo and not overly sweet!
2/5 stars
   The dressing they use is pretty generic with a heavy sesame/vinegar profile. I liked how they chopped up the veggies into slivers as opposed to huge chunks of lettuce, which made it a lot easier to eat! 
Miso Soup
3/5 stars
  The miso soup was pretty enjoyable as well! It had depth to it, without being over the top, in your face. There was a ton of tofu chunks in there too!

Ki Sushi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Spud Shack Co - New West Skytrain

  As a kid growing up in Van, the skytrain was an all too daily occurrence in my life LOL. Back then, the only food you could get near transit was a greasy ol' slice of pizza, a limpy old salad (gross) or a messy cold cut ham sandwich from the local coffee shop. Enter the 2011 (or was it 2012?) gentrification of the New West skytrain station, mediocre skytrain food is a thing of the past! Spud Shack is the first restaurant you see when you get off of the skytrain, it's tiny, and easy to miss! If you don't transit regularly you probably don't even know that this place exists LOL. The Spud Shack is famous for their delicious, hearty, pub food, and *supposedly* makes the best poutine in New West!

Btw, if you drive you can park downstairs in the safeway parking lot LOL! Or you can just take the skytrain ;)

Spud Shack's is famous for their poutine and their frites! Their fries, or Belgian frites as they call it, are made fresh daily in house! They also have a ton of awesome dipping sauces that you can order separately for dipping! The Spud also has a extensive drink menu that goes perfectly with their food!

SERVICE 2/5 stars
   There's no table service at the Spud Shack because it's a two person operation! You order and pay at the front counter, and when the food is ready, they'll call out your order! I got my food fairly quickly, at the same time, about 10 mins after I had ordered!

  The Spud Shack is fairly small, with only 8 tables or so tables! The interior is made out of rustic wood, with bold red chairs, and mirrors lining the walls.

PRICE - $/$$/$$$
   The Spud Shack is relatively affordable with frites starting at $2.50, and the poutines start at $5 for a small! The sandwiches and burgers are pricier at $12+, but all the sandwiches come with side of frites, which is awesome, so you don't have to order it separately!

VALUE - Poor/Okay/Good/Great
    For the price, the portion sizes are huge, and you definitely get what you pay for! Fresh, quality ingredients, made with care! The fries in particular tasted really fresh and so did the salad!

Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine - Medium $11
Fries 4/5 stars
Smoked Meat: 2/5 stars

  Woww, this plate was huge LOL! If this is the medium, what does the large look like? -.0
After finishing this, and the salad, I was stuffeddd! I probably should have ordered the small LOL! The frites themselves were well executed: crispy, charred at the edges, and perfectly crispy. The gravy was mild in flavour, and not too thick as to make the fries soggy. The smoked meat however, fell short. The meat was practically flavourless and relied on the gravy for added flavour. Where was the smokiness? Needless to say, I was disappointed.

Aurgula Salad - Small $6
3/5 stars
  This was even larger than the poutine LOL! For a small, this was huge! I wasn't expecting it to be this big LOL or else I wouldn't have ordered it. The veggies were delightfully fresh, and garnished with a healthy amount of feta cheese, crushed almonds, croutons, red fennel, onions, bacon, sausage and orange! Texturally on point. The flavours contrasted with each other and made for a yummy blend of sweet and savoury flavours. After polishing off the poutine + the salad, I was so full I ended up skipping dinner LOL!

The Spud Shack Fry Co. on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 27, 2014

Re-up BBQ - New West

  Sooo I was craving fried chicken last week heheh. KFC was out of the question. I wasn't near a Churches LOL. So I headed to New Westminster to visit Re up BBQ! They're famous for their pulled pork but I've heard awesome things about their fried chicken too! I've been wanting to try them out every since I heard about their food truck. Sadly, their food truck was too far away (downtown) so I decided to go to their permanent store, located in the New Westminster Quay!

Reup bbq is known around town for having the best ribs, pulled pork and fried chicken! Their  gravy and southern style biscuits are also really popular! They even make their own pop in house!

SERVICE 3/5 stars
   There were only 2 guys working there, one guy took my order then he went to the back to make it! He was friendly and waited patiently since I'm pretty indecisive LOL!

  Reup is located in the New Westminster Quay foodcourt! There's ample communal seating and a few tables for couples on the side. The last few times I went the tables were always really clean!

PRICE - $/$$/$$$
   Sandwiches and meat dishes start at $8 and you can add additional snacks to your plate! Your best bet would be to go with one of their bbq plates and add fries, gravy or biscuits!

VALUE - Poor/Okay/Good/Great
    The portion sizes are a little small for the price I paid, but you can tell they use quality ingredients and that they really put effort into making your food!

(Click to Enlarge)
Buttermilk Biscuits with white gravy $4
 3/5 stars
  This was my first time having southern style biscuits! The biscuits were soft, spongy like in texture, and covered with a thick, white gravy! The gravy wasn't too starchy like and had the perfect consistency. The gravy was loaded with spices and well flavoured. However, the seasoning wasn't very evenly distributed so some parts of the gravy was bland. They also have two other kinds of gravy to choose from!
Fried Chicken $6
4/5 stars
  Wow, these guys sure know their fried chicken! They have their fried chicken game down, pat!! This was awesome!! The skin was fried perfectly and sprinkled with a delicious spicy, salty seasoning! It also came with a side of tangy dipping sauce! Only downside? A bit overpriced, in my opinion. The pieces were so tiny!

Re-Up BBQ on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Boss HK Cafe - Metrotown

  Yesterday I had a dentist's appointment at Metrotown, and didn't want to venture too far for food! I go to Omega Dental btw LOL, beside T&T! So what were my only options? T&T, or the food court hahaha. Not really in the mood for either, I decided to go to the Boss instead for some HK Cafe food! Even though I lived in the Metrotown area for 7 years, I've never eaten at the Boss LOL! I've been to the Chinatown location though, and let me tell ya, that one is SO much better!! They have a bakery up front, but this one doesn't! 

  We actually had to wait in line for 10 mins, that's how popular this place is! We were given and a number, and had to wait outside. The turnover rate is pretty quick though, it's mainly filled with mall goers looking for a quick meal!
Dinner Roll + Soup $1.50
 4/5 stars
  This was actually really good LOL! Or maybe I was just really hungry! The bread they give you at this location is white bread, which is served warm! The chinatown location gives you whole wheat bread, and it's cold haha. The bread was super fluffy, soft, and not dense at all! The bread was really warm and soft, there's nothing better than warm bread! Total comfort food LOL!
Singapore Fried Vermicelli $8.50
 2.5/5 stars
  This was on the first page of the menu, in the specials section! The portion size was quite large and pretty filling! There was a mild curry flavour, and had some good wok hey going on. The noodles were cooked  al dente and didn't clump together, which was appreciated. There was a good amount of lean char siu piecs in there, as well as some carrots and peppers!
Mushroom Chicken Soup
3/5 stars
  I've had the same soup at their chinatown location, and I found this version to be starchier, and clumpier. There was a heavy chicken flavour and an underlying mushroom flavour. There was a substantial amount of chicken in it too!
HK Milk Tea
3/5 stars
  The first thing I noticed was that they use the same cups as Deer Garden LOL! These types of mugs keep the drink hot for a long time! The milk tea was smooth, not too bitter, and really creamy. Pretty standard, nothing too exciting!

The Boss Restaurant 大班餐廳餅店 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Northern Meixi - Crystal Mall Food Court

The funniest thing happened yesterday while I riding the bus! The guy sitting beside me was reading Vancity Noms on his phone LOL!! I was soo tempted to tell him "Hayyy, that's my blog!!" LOL, but I was too shyyy. I'm really shy in person, believe it or not! I don't talk to alot of people and I actually don't have that many friends haha! I knowww, I'm such a loner ;)

  Anyways, I went to Crystal Mall afterschool and the place was packed!! I had trouble finding a seat but I managed to score a bar table in the centre of the food court (my go to spot haha!) I've tried pretty much every single stall in the Crystal Mall food court, and I've been eyeing Northern Mexi Fast food for a while now!

    Northern Mexi is a stall in the Crystal Mall food court that specializes in food from Northern China! Their signature dishes are their handmade noodles, Chinese crepes, and xlb! I see alot of people ordering their chinese crepes, so that's what I got!

SERVICE 3/5 stars
   The lady working there was helpful with explaining the ingredients that go in the crepe to me in Mandarin! When I went back to ask for an extra plate, they gave me one without charging extra haha! Usually food courts charge you 25 cents for extra utensils or plates!

  It's the Crystal Mall court LOL. It's hectic, loud, stuffy, and not very pleasant. But I'm willing to bear through the pain for delicious FOOD...lmao!! Make sure you secure a seat before ordering or else you're going to find yourself standing there with a plate of food with nowhere to sit!

PRICE - $/$$/$$$
   The noodles dishes are priced from a reasonable $7-9, which is pretty typical of a food court. A plain crepe starts at $3.50, and additional ingredients cost extra.

VALUE - Poor/Okay/Good/Great
    From what I ordered, this place is pretty decent value! For $5, I left full and satisfied! 

Chinese Crepe $5
3.5/5 stars

  I was expecting this to be snack sized, but turns out it was huge! They definitely didn't skimp on the meat, this was jam packed with tender, flavourful chunks of beef brisket! The crepe itself is really thin and made out of egg! They glaze a spicy sauce on the inside of the crepe which adds alot of extra flavour. You also have the option to get pork or chinese sausages instead of beef!There were 4 pieces of chinese donut, which were soft and not oily at all! Overall this made for a really filling meal, not bad for $5!
  One thing I find that tends to happen with chinese crepes is that they get soggy reallyy quickly due to the filling, but that's pretty much inevitable!
Jam packed with good stuff! :D

Real Taro Milk Slush from Happy Ice House! $4.90
4/5 stars

  Whenever I go to Crystal Mall the first thing I notice is that everyone, and I mean everyonee, has a drink/slush/bubble tea with their meal LOL! So I decided to join in on the fun and I got a taro milk slush from Happy Ice House (the stall beside the escalators!) I saw them put an entire taro in this with fresh milk! The drink was super thick and had a smoothie like consistency, really a meal in it of itself LOL! I don't think they added any sugar because all I could really taste was the natural sweetness of the taro, which was awesome!!

Northern Meixi 山東拉麵 on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pho Hoa Hong - Beside Pho Tam!

  Last week after eating at Pho Tam, I noticed another Pho restaurant a few doors down! I peeked inside and the place was pretty dead LOL...not hard to see why, given the popularity of Pho Tam!! Nevertheless, curiosity got the best of me and I was determined to try this place out just so I could compare it to the almighty pho tam LOL! I was curious to see how they would fare in comparison, because if you're operating beside one of the best pho restaurants in the GVR, you're facing some serious competition!! I wouldn't be gutsy enough to do that haha, it would be like opening a bubble tea store beside Bubble Queen LOL!! It would be virtually impossible to compete!

    Pho Hoa Hong offers up all your staple pho dishes like Pho Dac Biet, Bun Bo Hue, Bun Rieu, Lemongrass chicken! They don't have any ban mis though! The menu is pretty simple, with most of the noodle dishes being the same price.

SERVICE 2/5 stars
   When I walked in there was only one other party! I was seated at a large 4 person table, and was quickly handed a menu. I got my pho 2 mins after ordering. They totally mixed up my order lol, because I told the waiter that I wanted the "medium" size pho but he gave me the large size instead! Oh well haha!

  The decor is pretty typical of a pho place. Utilitarian tables and chairs, with simple paintings decorating the walls. It's alot cleaner than Pho Tam, because of the lower turnover rate haha. It's not as dark or dingy either, and the tables/utensils are much cleaner.

PRICE - $/$$/$$$
   All of the large soup+spring roll combos are $10! The rice dishes start at $8.50 and go upwards to $10. Priced in line with Pho Tam next door.

VALUE - Poor/Okay/Good/Great
    Value wise, it was just okay. Considering you can get soo much better just a few doors down, I wouldn't bother coming back here. The portion sizes are smaller here and the food just isn't as good!

#5 Large Rare Beef, Beef Brisket, Tendon, & Tripe $10 Combo
2/5 stars
  This was alrightt. Nothing mindblowingly amazing, but honestly, it wasn't all that bad. Compared to Pho Tam next door, Pho Hoa Hong definitely falls short. The broth isn't as beefy or fragrant, and lacks any substantial depth. I read reviews that said the broth was too light tasting, but they must have changed the recipe, because it was pretty salty! I wasn't excessively thirsty afterwards though, so msg usage was definitely at a minimum. The noodles were decent, cooked al dente, but personally I thought it was disconnected to the broth. The first thing I noticed when the bowl first hit the table was that none of the beef slices were rare! They were all fully cooked, which was pretty disappointing. The pieces had a decent lean:fatty ratio, so the meat wasn't too dry.

Spring Roll
1.5/5 stars
  What a sad looking springroll! Look at how thin it is LOL! Pho Tam's version is twice as thick, and packed with twice the amount of meat! While the exterior was crunchy, it wasn't flaky enough for my liking. The interior was rather void of flavour, so fish sauce was definitely needed.

Pho Hoa Hong on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hub Restaurant - New West Skytrain

  Soo lately I've been really into exploring New Westminster's just somewhere I haven't really gotten the chance to scope out, and I've just now discovered that there's actually a ton of awesome restaurants in New West! I've been slowly eating my way through every restaurant on the new west skytrain platform, I still have a few on my list: the Spud Shack (I've heard their poutine is ah-mazing!!) , Pizza Garden, Togo Sushi, Extreme Pita, and Inn Noodle House!

  Sorry if I sound tired in this post and not as "peppy" as I usually am LOL...that's because I'm really burned out from school haha! Essay writing does that to you! DARN YOU ESSAYS!!! 

  For a restaurant located on a skytrain platform, The Hub is actually pretty nice LOL! It's really large inside and overlooks the water! Since there weren't that many people, I was seated at a large booth table and I had the couch all to ma self hehe!
 Peppercorn Burger $15
3/5 stars
  This was decent burger, but really not worth $15! I definitely wasn't thinking properly when I ordered this because I didn't even want a burger at the time I'm not sure how that happened haha. The burger also came with two onion rings which were nicely battered and crunchy! The entire patty is covered with peppercorn which added alot of extra flavour. The buns were glazed with a pesto sauce which added another dimension of flavour which made the burger more enjoyable. The patty was reasonably tender, albeit a bit a dry.
  Just I the only person who eats burgers with a knife and fork? LOL!! It's just cleaner that way haha, I'm a really messy eater, so it would impossible to eat with my hands without getting food all over my face! 
Yam Fries $2
4/5 stars
  These yam fries were solid, really solid! Definitely the highlight of my meal! Every sandwich/burger combo comes with free fries or salad, but you also have the option to swap it out for yam fries, onion rings, or poutine! I tried to be semi healthy and I got the yam fries LOL! These were awesome: crispy, not soggy, with just the right amount of seasoning! The fries also came with a side of chipotle mayo!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Old Spaghetti Factory - New West

  You guys may find this suprising, but I've NEVER been to the Old Spaghetti Factory before LOL...despite having lived in Vancouver my whole life! Yess, I'm a failed Vancouverite *hangs head in shame* But hey, I have my reasons LOL! My parents tried bringing me here when I was a kid but I broke out in hives just from touching the tabletops because they had been contaminated with traces of butter/milk LOL! Which also explains why I've only eaten at White Spot once (last year) despite the fact that I'm a BC kid LOL! Which also meant that I could never go to birthday parties at Boston Pizza or Red Robbin hahaha, so after a while kids just stopped inviting me...yep, I suree was popular.

  Anyways, the day before I went to the Old Spaghetti Factory to live out my 2nd grade dream!! LOL! Yes, I vividly remember when I first heard about the OSF in the 2nd grade, my mom went to eat there with a friend, and she came back and told me about it! Alas, the OSF was so close, yet so far. I've heard so much about this place. Mainly bad things, but hey, this place is a classic! Needless to say, I was really excited about trying out the infamous OSF!

    The OSF is infamous for their spaghetti LOL! No, it's not real Italian food, but who's expecting an Ask for Luigi anyways? Admit it, you don't come here for the spaghetti, you come here for purely nostalgic reasons LOL!! ...that, or the unlimited sourdough bread ;)

SERVICE 4/5 stars
   The service I received was great! The waitress was genuinely nice, attentive, and came back to ask multiple times if I was enjoying my meal! After I had ordered I was brought bread immediately, which kept me preoccupied for 10 mins while I waited for my spaghetti LOL! My soup came shortly after, along with my tea, and my spaghetti came last!

  The decor in here is really dated, but comforting, in a weird way LOL! It's like visiting your grandma's house haha! They have a huge train in the middle of the restaurant, with tables inside, which I thought was really neat!  Since the restaurant was pretty empty the waitress let me sit at a booth table and the chairs were really comfy!

PRICE - $/$$/$$$
   The OSF is pretty cheap! Most of the spaghettis range from $11-13! Unlimited bread, an entree, dessert, and a drink for under $12 is a rarity these days!

VALUE - Poor/Okay/Good/Great
    Okayy, it's not authentic Italian food, but you to admit this place is pretty good value for the money LOL! Unlimited bread just seals the deal LOL!  It's unpretentious and predictable, which makes it a great place for families!
Complimentary Sourdough Bread w/ Garlic Butter + Regular Butter
Bread: 3/5 stars
Garlic Butter: 2/5 stars
  So this is what they're famous for eh? For complimentary bread, it's not too shabby! The loaf was huge, and I managed to polish off the whole thing LOL...oops! The bread came out warm, the inside was really fluffy and soft with a strong sourdough flavour, and the exterior was really crunchy! 
  It also came with a side of garlic butter and regular butter! The garlic butter was actually pretty tasty, the garlic flavour wasn't too strong, which I liked. 
Managers Special - Brown Butter + Miritzia Cheese (Left) Clam Sauce (Right) $12.25
Brown Butter: 3/5 stars
Clam Sauce: 1.5/5 stars
  Since I wanted more of a variety, I got their managers special, which lets you choose two types of sauce for your spaghetti! I went with the brown butter and the clam sauce! The brown butter was my favourite out of the two, it was really well seasoned, and heavy on the cheese. The clam sauce was alright, flavour wise it was a bit weak and  too gloppy and starchy in texture. The noodles were kinda overcooked and not al dente at all LOL...I like my noodles to have bite! ;)
Milestones Soup
3/5 stars
  This was actually pretty decent! You have a choice of soup or salad, and I went with the soup! It had a ton of veggies in it, and little bits of pasta! The soup was predominately tomato flavoured, heavy on the pepper, and rather sour.
2/5 stars
  Every meal also comes with a hot drink, and I got their tea! It came in this really cool looking lightbulb shaped glass LOL! The meal also includes icecream for dessert but I didn't want to risk an allergic reaction in case the icecream had modified milk ingredients in it haha, so I passed!

The Old Spaghetti Factory on Urbanspoon

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