1212 Commercial Drive
On my University years, my schedule was the usual crazy one for those who were working and studying. In my case, my latest class was 10:30 p.m. and, a lot of times, it mean grabbing something to eat. There were some “usual” 24 hours places and, in one of such places, I always went for one thing: a Cuban sandwich. What I liked about that sandwich was that combination of savoury, sweet (*), sour/acidic and gooey cheesy. While there are great sandwiches here in Vancouver, I haven’t been able to find anything that resembles it yet. Now, it isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, as I have learned to “appreciate” the other sandwich types. Instead, well, I miss it. When Sherman went to Havana Cafe and mentioned they make this sandwich, I was all up for it. Alas, it partially fell off the radar but, on one night, I was near Brittania Community Centre and that gave me a good excuse to drop by for that Cuban sandwich.
(*) This might due to the use of a braided bread, rather than the traditional Cuban bread.
Chez Meme Baguette Bistro
4016 Hastings Street
Last week, Sherman wrote a post about Dirty Apron Delicatessen and, on that post, Holly wrote a comment about Chez Meme. It just happens that place has been on my radar for quite some time. How far? As early as spring when Jessica (who has been MIA) wrote a post about them. Of course, that comment was a good reminder and, in the end, it was a matter of finding time. So, given I wanted to go, how come I didn’t make time to do so? Because of their schedule. See, they are only open for breakfast and lunch, 3:00 p.m. at the latest, Monday to Friday and open on some Saturdays (as in every second Saturday of the month, though it might be different on that Saturday in January 2011), hours which would be “normal” working hours for me. But, fortunately (?), I had a day off on an otherwise regular working day, I jumped at that opportunity.
160 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA
Under “normal” circumstances, the burgers I had in In-N-Out would have sufficed. OK, probably had I made the fries animal style as well and order a 3×3 (i.e. three beef patties). So, here is the reason why I didn’t: Given I was on vacation, why not make the most out of it? How? Well, how about another restaurant in the area? With so many options, though with the caveat of it being a touristy area, the obvious question was… Where? How about something San Francisco is known for? Namely sourdough bread? How about clam chowder? Or, how about clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl? Given that Chris went to the sit down area of Bistro Boudin and it was a bit of a let down, Sherman and I decided to go to the quick order area instead…
Yu Kee BBQ Kitchen
111 – 2609 East 49th Avenue
Some of you might be wondering: Am I not the one who “complains” about Chinese restaurants and do not visit too many of those? True… So, why another Chinese restaurant post, then? Well, *another* might be stretching it but, while I can do Chinese for a full month, truth is, I do not want to bore you with visits to Chinese after Chinese after Chinese. Besides, there are a lot of other non-Chinese restaurants out there! Of course, there is another reason why I do not blog too often about Chinese restaurants: you can seldom go there by yourself (compared to say, Vietnamese where you can still get a decent meal).
So how I ended up in Yu Kee, a small Chinese restaurant in Killarney Market? While I have known of its existence for a long time, all the previous instances I have been there were a bit of a failed attempt: for the most part, I arrived too late. However, that was before they opened a proper restaurant side, which, unlike their previous iteration, they are open until 10:00 p.m. And the fact that Anita dropped me an email asking if I was interested in checking it out, that pretty much sealed the deal.
Xiang Yuan Qiao Bridge Rice Noodle
2128 – 4500 Kingsway
It is commonly agreed that Crystal Mall is one of the best places for Chinese cheap, quick eats, with some of them delivering dishes that are about par (probably giving them a bit too much credit here, though) with some sit down restaurants. Of course, given the price point at the food court, I am more willing to return there than the sit down ones! While I have written about a couple of places in Crystal Mall (like Delicious BBQ and Wang’s Shanghai), you have to admit that, for some gems to shine, you have to have something to compare against. In other words, in a sea where everything is “good”, there has to be one that sucks; otherwise, means that everything is average.
As for Crystal Mall, I have purposely avoided some of the stands probably because of some pre-conception or simply because I am not that enticed to try them. Which ones? If you see something on the lines of “2 or 3 items plus rice or noodles” or sushi, chances are I will see what’s in the next stand. (For the former, I would rather go to Kent’s Kitchen; for the later, too many in Metro Vancouver). One of the places I thought was below average in Crystal Mall was Beijing Restaurant, which I blogged previously here), and I wasn’t the only who thought was subpar. So, in a survival of the fittest type environment, it eventually closed down and now has been replaced by Xiang Yuan Qiao Bridge Rice Noodle. I was tempted to check the other stands first but after seeing such a long queue of people, I thought, what the hell, let’s give it a try…
Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle
2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way
I think it is somewhat commonly accepted by food bloggers in Vancouver that the larger the hype, the higher the standards by which you will be judged against. Of course, when I mean food bloggers, I am referring to those who actually go there, sit, order, eat and pay as would any customers and then write what he/she thought about it. Among my peers, I have been considered to be the biggest ba$7@rd when it comes to “criticizing”, despite I have mentioned a lot of times I don’t do reviews but, what I write, are merely experiences of my own. The funny part about this was that a dear friend told me that, lately, I have not been as bashful and harsh as in the past and have mellowed out a little bit. How true this is, I will leave it up to you; however, it might also be because I haven’t be to any of such “hyped” restaurants in a long while. Until the day I had to venture to that driving hell hole called Richmond to pick up my car, which gave me the opportunity to go to Aberdeen (which, fortunately, was somewhat empty that night) and go to one of the most hyped Chinese restaurants in a while: Chef Hung.
Mui Ngo Gai
2408 Nanaimo Street
For quite some time already, I have wondered about dishes representatives of a culture. This is somewhat “important” because, when we go to an ethnic restaurant, we want to go there to have a taste of that culture. So, not sure how or why, in the case of Japanese, it ends up being sushi, though there is a showing of izakaya places lately. In the case of Greek, it shouts lamb. But similar to NY style pizza, chicago deep dish pizza (which, technically is a casserole), St Louis style or California style, each region has its unique version. So in a chain of emails with a reader who prefers not to comment, she made a note that “whenever you (as in food bloggers in general) go to a Vietnamese restaurant, you always end up ordering pho or bánh mì and, in-lieu, we should give bún bò hue a try instead. While I have unknowingly tried it once in Pho Maxima, when I went to Mui Ngo Gai, I consciously decided to give this dish a try instead. So, would it change my thoughts of pho and start ordering this other dish instead (if available)?