Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

How Fish Meets Mountains – Takeya Sushi

July 30, 2013
Takeya Sushi, Richmond BC
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Sanshoku Don
Cheesey Salmon Teriyaki Roll
Rocky Mountain Roll
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ImageBack to blogging after a long while… simply because some photos are too good to not be shared! So let me pick up from where I left off…

You can literally find great sushi anywhere in Richmond and Vancouver. True some places are a hit or miss, but I like to believe that each place does certain things good so you have to know what you’re getting yourself into.

At Takeya Sushi, their don special was the Sanshoku Don, with BBQ salmon, spicy salmon tata (or I guess is just spicy salmon), and ikura (salmon roe). I thought the BBQ salmon was dry and too salty, but the ikura was very fresh and the spicy salmon just divine. The rice was also pretty good.Image

The Cheesey Salmon Teriyaki Roll was okay. The cheese was not clearly not the best quality and again, the cooked salmon was a little dry. Honestly, I may just not be a fan of cooked salmon. The red peppers on top was a nice touch though. Image

My favourite was actually the simplest: the Rocky Mountain Roll. It is essentially a teriyaki beef roll with asparagus and red pepper, wrapped in soy paper. The teriyaki beef was delicious – juicy, sweet, and just lovely when eaten with the crunchy asparagus and red pepper. 

One more thing to note – I love their menu! It has a photo for every item, which makes it so much more pleasant to read but just that much harder to decide what to get!

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Spicy, Scallop-y, Stanley – Sushi One

July 6, 2013
Sushi One, Richmond BC
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Spicy Tuna Sashimi
Scallop Magma Roll
Stanley Roll
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ImageMy best friend and I decided to go out for lunch at Sushi One, a fairly new restaurant by the water in Steveston. It was quite crowded inside on a Saturday, with almost every booth taken. The service was friendly and it was a nice little place to chat.Image

I ordered a lunch special with one of their special rolls and had a salad and soup to go along with it. Both were fairly standard.Image

I picked Spicy Tuna Sashimi for my side. The pieces were small but I loved the spicy sauce that had quite the kick and also a touch of sweetness. The tuna was very fresh and, paired with the sauce, was very appetizing.

My Scallop Magma Roll was absolutely delicious, and very creative. Inside was spicy tuna while it was topped with masago, chopped scallop, and a sweet, black sesame sauce. The sauce was rich, creamy, and sweet, balancing out with the spicy tuna and scallops nicely. The ingredients were all very fresh.Image

My friend had the Stanley Roll that was also drool-worthy. It had yam tempura, avocado, and cucumber inside with a unagi tempura and tobiko on top. The two sweet tempuras were excellent, especially since they were not the same kind of sweetness. Still, it was harmonious and interesting all rolled into one.

Sushi One has it in the bag when it comes to creative rolls – so many choices and so many different appetizers and sides to choose from! They also have some great lunch specials that I’m sure this will become a regular hangout lunch spot for me.

Sushi One on Urbanspoon

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Pork and Pineapples – Boston Pizza

July 5, 2013
Boston Pizza, Richmond BC
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Chicken and Mushroom Fettucini
Pulled Pork Pizza
Hawaiian Pizza
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ImageI met up with three other people for a late night dinner at Boston Pizza. It was a nice place to hang out and chat. For the two and a half hours we were there, the large table beside us went through two rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’ so we joined in as well. I had a voucher for a 2-topping individual pizza but since they made a mistake with my order, we actually got two pizzas in the end.

To start, my friend ordered a Chicken and Mushroom Fettucini, baked with cheese and upgraded to three-cheese toast. The pasta itself was creamy with the alfredo sauce. The chicken was okay but a little bland. The mushrooms did not stand out too much either. However, the tomatoes cut through the cream just a little. The cheese on top was a little too much for me so the dish became too rich. The three-cheese toast was delicious, though. With all these additions, the dish was over $20, which is a little pricey.

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Our first pizza was the Hawaiian Pizza, with smoked ham and pineapple. It was savoury and sweet, with a nice and chewy but not overly thick crust. The pizza was really good but not worth $10.20 as it was quite small. Image

The second pizza was the Pulled Pork Pizza. Although more exotic, it still was not worth $12 due to the sheer size. The BBQ flavour was really nice and sweet though, and the pork was decently juicy. The green onions on top cut through the sweetness and added a slight zing.

The casual atmosphere at Boston Pizza is great but it is just so expensive. The food is good but not good enough to justify the high prices. These are more like fine-dining menu prices but this is no where near top notch fine-dining. 

Boston Pizza on Urbanspoon

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One Day Attack in UCity – Guerilla Ultima

May 29, 2013
Guerilla Ultima, Philadelphia PA
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Sesame Broccoli Salad
The Ultimate Patriot
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ImageGuerilla Ultima was a relatively new food truck specializing in BBQ that I had never seen around Drexel’s campus or anywhere else. The menu looked interesting with a lot of choices of protein. However, I do think it’s important to specify a burger and not call it a sandwich. 

The Sesame Broccoli Salad was a little too sour for my liking. I had a lot of broccoli as well as napa cabbage, carrots, and spicy jalapenos. It just had too much acidity to the salad and it was a little overdressed. However, I did like the crispness of the fresh vegetables. Still, for $4, the portion was quite small.Image

The Outsourced Patriot was in actuality a smoked curry chicken burger topped with coconut crema and guerilla slaw. The chicken was a little dry but still decent. It also had a smoky flavour but I had a hard time tasting much of the coconut crema. The burger was just a tad too dry and slightly bland, especially once you have the two pieces of the bun with the chicken breast. 

I think this food truck has potential but really needs to carve out its niche, figure out the tastes of its customers, and set a price that will generate a lot of business. Striking up conversations while customers are waiting is also not a bad idea. 

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Burger Month! – SpOt

May 28, 2013
SpOt, Philadelphia PA
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Yosemite Sam Burger
Umami Burger
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ImageNational Hamburger Month continues with a visit to SpOt, the best burgers off a cart you can ever find. The Yosemite Sam was the weekly special: a regular, juicy beef burger with bacon, grilled onions, provolone cheese, jalapenos, BBQ-sriracha, and a teriyaki-horseradish mayonnaise. I love sweet grilled onions on everything, especially balancing out the kick from the jalapenos. The sauces mixed together nicely as well – two types of sweet and spicy.

ImageThe Umami Burger had lettuce, pickled daikon, gilled onions, mushrooms, gochujang, and teriyaki. The lettuce and daikon gave it a nice crunch and I love the sweet and spicy from the onions and the two sauces. The mushrooms did not add flavour or texture but were great nonetheless. Overall, a very satisfying, juicy burger. 

Spot Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Deep in a Japanese Coma – Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant

ImageMay 9, 2013
Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant, Richmond BC
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Eda-Mame
Green Salad
Salmon Sashimi
Tuna Sashimi
Spicy Seafood Cone
Chicken Teriyaki Roll
Spring Roll
Deep Fried Gyoza
Shishamo Karaage
Chicken Karaage
ImageChicken Udon
Beef Udon
BBQ Beef Short Rib
BBQ Chicken Wing
BBQ Korean Pork
BBQ Salmon Kama
BBQ Yakitori
Oyster Motoyaki
Salmon Teriyaki
Fruit Jello
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ImageWow, another very long chat late into the night. Seven friends met over dinner and exchanged gossip and stories for hours around a large table at Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant. We were all deep into food comas by the end but unfortunately, there was nowhere to go but home at 11:30, especially with early mornings for some the next morning. Image

The Eda-Mame was standard, which means no where near as good as the ones I have had almost everyday in Tokyo. It just was not flavourful enough – lacking salt while boiling – and the doneness was inconsistent.Image

The Green Salad was the most pathetic way to celebrate National Salad Month. It was such a small portion, with iceberg lettuce, what tasted like a carrot puree with a tangy dressing and sesame seeds, shredded carrot and red cabbage, and some scallions.  Image

The Salmon Sashimi was good, with a nice texture. It was actually quite fresh and the fish was really bouncy but firm. Vancouver’s salmon sashimi rarely disappoints, even the regular kind.Image

The Tuna Sashimi was less impressive. It did not taste as fresh and the fish was not as firm as I would like. It was more mushy than the salmon.

The Spicy Seafood Cone was not extremely spicy. I found the seafood a little dry and the flavour was not bold enough to stand out amidst all the rice in the cone. Image

The Chicken Teriyaki Roll was actually good. The chicken was tender. The teriyaki sauce was sweet and had a good consistency. The vegetables made it refreshing and there was just the right amount of sauce drizzled over it. Image

The Spring Roll tasted like it came out of a package. It was fried nicely but you cannot really screw that up anyways. The vegetable filling was not exactly amazing. This was more generic than anything. Image

The Deep Fried Gyoza looked better than they tasted. The filling was a little small and the wrappers, while very crispy, tasted a little too greasy.

The Shishamo Karaage was a nice change. I have not had these little fish in a very long time. I really like the lot of fish eggs inside each fish. They were the best part of this little thing.

The Chicken Karaage were simply deep fried without much seasoning or anything for that matter. The chicken wings were juicy on the inside but these were just mediocre. Image

The Chicken Udon had one small piece of fried chicken cutlet over udon noodles. The chicken was okay. The broth was decent and the noodles were just a tad overcooked.

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The Beef Udon was pretty bad. The udon and soup were good enough but the beef was incredibly tough to chew; it was just too sinewy and did not have much flavour. ImageImageImage

The series of BBQ included Beef Short Rib, Chicken Wing, Korean Pork, Salmon Kama, and Yakitori. The short ribs were tasty and sweet. The chicken wings were a lot better than the deep fried kind. Clearly, the sweet sauce makes all the difference here! The Korean Pork was dry and tough. There was not much flesh on the salmon kama, or salmon head, and it looked quite intimidating! Finally, the yakitori, or chicken skewer, was actually very flavourful from the spice marinade and very juicy. This was one of the better dishes of the night.Image

The Oyster Motoyaki was creamy but a little too heavy. You really need to be partial to these motoyakis to be able to stomach more than one. The oysters were small and not very fresh either.Image

The Salmon Teriyaki was a little dry but at least it was salmon with the lovely sweet sauce.

Finally, we all ended with Fruit Jello. These were generic, colorful, and kind of fun to play with. They were very jiggly and for someone in a deep food coma at midnight, it might be just the tad bit fascinating.Image

Ninkazu will satisfy your regular craving for generic Japanese food. If you are looking for anything remotely close to fine dining, go somewhere else. If you are just seeking out a place to catch up with friends over A LOT of food, this would be the place for you.

Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant 仁和日本料理 on Urbanspoon

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Louder Than a Baby – Baby Blues BBQ

April 28, 2013
Baby Blues BBQ, Philadelphia PA
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“Get Down Miss Brown”
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ImageI went with a group of friends to Baby Blues BBQ to celebrate the end of a project. We happened upon their first party outdoors this year so it was extremely loud, almost impossible to hear one another. It was certainly a lively environment but sitting by the window, it was not good for talking. Our order also got misplaced so we waited almost two hours before our food came. Despite the 50% discount, we were not quite pleased with the service.Image

I ordered the “Get Down Miss Brown” which was essentially the pulled pork platter with two sides (also known as ‘fixin’s’). I opted for their famous mac n’ cheese and the sautéed okra but another mis-order and they gave me fried okra. Not a problem here, though, because they just brought out the sautéed ones as well. The pulled pork was juicy but the inside was still a little tough and bland, until I dumped the sweet BBQ sauce on it. The spicy varieties (hot and XXX) and the regular ones were okay but I like my sauce to be extra sweet. It was decent pulled pork nonetheless. The mac n’ cheese was very cheesy but the pasta was a bit overcooked and it was clearly heated up rather than made very fresh because the center was not exactly very warm. The sautéed okra, with tomatoes, was actually good but very greasy. The fried okra were great when dipped in more BBQ sauce.

I think when it is not so busy, the quality will improve. Not that it was bad, but I think the potential to be better is certainly there. Still, I am glad we have a place right on campus for some decent BBQ comfort food.

Baby Blues BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Bunnies on a Cake – 圣安娜饼屋-Saint Honore Pastries

ImageMarch 23, 2013
圣安娜饼屋 – Saint Honore Pastries, Philadelphia PA
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豆沙包 (Red Bean Bun)
叉烧包 (Roasted Pork Bun)

兔仔蛋糕 (Rabbit Cake)
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Being in Chinatown, I was craving some traditional buns and Asian cakes. Nothing too sweet, too salty, but a nice blend of the two. I had never been to Saint Honore so I thought, why not give it a try. It did have many enticing cakes on display.Image

First, the 豆沙包 (Red Bean Bun) had the sweet ‘pineapple’ crust on top. The crust was not as sweet as I would like but it as crumbly and the bun was rather airy and soft. The texture was moist and a little chewy so that was good. The red bean or azuki bean paste inside was not very sweet so if you do not like the really sweet paste, this is for you.Image

The 叉烧包 (Roasted Pork Bun) was a little different than usual. The bun was good but inside was not your chopped roasted BBQ pork. It was small square slices. The BBQ taste was light but you could really taste the pork in this case.Image

The 兔仔蛋糕 (Rabbit Cake) looked better than it tasted. It was just so cute! The cake was airy and soft, not sweet, just like your average Asian cake. The cream was decent and again, not very sweet.Image

Going into a Chinese bakery, you know you do not have to worry about that extra sugar and overdose as much as if you were going into a western bakery and cafe. Things are just light here. 

 

 

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Two Sammies & a Cupcake – Green Line Cafe

March 22, 2013
Green Line Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Cucumber Cake Cupcake with Vegan Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich
Sweet Potato Burrito

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ImageOn a drizzling, dreary day, I love it when I can just sit back, relax, and spend an hour or so in a small, independent café. I am not a big drinker of coffee but I do love to try various sandwiches and treats, and bringing some back for dinner, of course. That’s how I ended up at Green Line Cafe.Image

The Cucumber Cake Cupcake with Vegan Lime Cream Cheese Frosting was actually quite bad, especially for $2.50. The cake had plenty of grated cucumber but the cake was dense and hard, sticking to the cup. It had air bubbles and was not moist and soft at all. The flavour was at least light. I did like the vegan frosting, despite the lack of lime flavours. It was sweet and slightly dense.Image

The Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich was the special of the month and an absolute delight. It had a great meatloaf with Korean BBQ sauce and Asian slaw served on ciabatta. It had a lovely spicy kick to it, marrying with the juicy meatloaf nicely. The Asian slaw was crunchy, slightly too greasy, but with a nice sweet undertone. The ciabatta was nice once toasted. It was a great fusion sandwich.Image

The Sweet Potato Burrito was just okay. I did like the cubed sweet potato rather than mashed. It did not have extra sugar so it had the natural sweet potato flavours. There was plenty of brown rice and black bean and corn salsa but not enough flavours in every bite of the burrito. I could not really taste the chipotle vegan aioli so that’s probably why it was lacking in flavours. I do like the added spinach, though.Image

Service was great and just a heads up that this is a cash-only café. The atmosphere is just so relaxing and quaint – a neighbourhood gem!

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Livin’ Off Convenient Stores – Wawa

March 19, 2013
Wawa, Philadelphia PA
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Premium Honey Smoked Turkey w/ Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Hoagie
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Pancake Sizzli
Rainbow Cookie
Mozzarella Sticks
Sweet Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel
Red Velvet Muffin
BBQ Roast Pork Hoagie
Cookies & Cream Donut
Iced Chocolate Caramel Latte
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ImageThere are just those days that Wawa is my go to place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snacks, of course. This was just one of those days.

ImageThe Premium Honey Smoked Turkey w/ Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Hoagie was actually great. It was also National Poultry Day so turkey fit the bill. The eggs were hot and fluffy. The turkey was slightly sweet and thinly sliced. The roll was toasted and crispy on the outside. I had a little trouble finding the cheese but otherwise, it was a good breakfast hoagie – more expensive than food trucks but I liked the eggs a lot more.Image

The Sausage, Egg & Cheese Pancake Sizzli was okay. I find it odd to have actual pancakes with no syrup as a breakfast sandwich but it was lightly sweet and nice. The sausage patty was a little dry but had good flavour, as did the cheese. I just was not a fan of the preformed egg omelet.
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The Rainbow Cookie had a lot of chocolate candies, making it so colourful. I loved the crisp that a regular chocolate chip or chunk cookie that just has melted chocolate. I liked the lightly sweetened cookie dough but it was a little over-baked, neither crispy nor gooey. I prefer the latter.
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The Mozzarella Sticks had a nice thin batter on the outside with very stringy, chewy mozzarella inside. I loved the chewiness of the cheese and I could pull it so long without it at all breaking. I was disappointed that if I wanted marinara sauce, I had to pay for it.Image

The Sweet Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel was chewy with a crisp exterior. The inside was filled with delicious sweet cream cheese. It was a nice balance between the sweet filling and the salt on the pretzel. I wished there was more of the cheese filling inside. I love the light sweetness of it.Image

The Red Velvet Muffin was so red that it was food colour overdose. The muffin was moist and dense with a crisp top. Inside was filled with sweet cream that was a little too buttery. The muffin was good though, compared to some smaller independent cafes.Image

The limited-time BBQ Roast Pork Hoagie was overloaded with Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. The sauce was great on the hot roast pork. The pork was juicy and decently tender. The BBQ sauce covered up the provolone cheese, though, and all the juices made half the bread somewhat soggy.Image

The Cookies & Cream Donut was actually good. I liked the cookie crumble with the frosting, and especially the cookies and cream filling. It was not too sweet but not greasy either. The doughnut was also fresh since it was still early in the day.Image

ImageFor National Chocolate Caramel Day and American Chocolate Week, I tried the Iced Chocolate Caramel Latte. It was decent, just milky enough and had the tastes of chocolate and caramel, although it was not very sweet. I liked how the ice is crushed ice so not large cubes. The whip cream with chocolate drizzle did not add much but it was refreshing.

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