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 Hurricane – Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant

June 23, 2013
Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Spicy Beef Gyoza
Shrimp Teriyaki
Hurricane Roll
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A friend recently graduated and so we went out for dinner one last time before he leaves. It was a lovely, sunny evening so we walked all the way over to Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant. The temperature was just perfect so we walked back afterwards as well, a great way to start digesting all that food.

ImageThe restaurant was very quiet but there was a decent number of tables occupied for a Monday evening. The waitresses were all in Japanese-style apparel, which just compliments the whole atmosphere.

We started with the Spicy Beef Gyoza. It did not have as much of a kick as I hoped but was a nice deviation from your traditional pork gyoza. The skin was nice and crispy and the filling was quite flavourful.Image

The Shrimp Teriyaki was served with a small salad and rice. The shrimp were tender and coated with a good amount of the sweet teriyaki. The broccoli and carrots were nicely steamed but I really just liked the yam and sweet potato chips. At least, I think they were yam chips; potatoes just do not get that huge. They were crispy and chewy once they were soaked a little in the sauce.Image

Finally, the Hurricane Roll had tons of flavour with salmon, masago, avocado, and spicy yellowtail. The spicy yellowtail was a nice change and the avocado added the necessary creaminess to balance the decent spicy kick from the fish and the green scallions on top. The rice was good and there was not too much of it.

Fuji Mountain is not exactly the cheapest Japanese restaurants around but it is acceptable for quite decent food compared to some other places around town. It’s a little more high-end than a lot of the smaller lunch spots, with an extensive menu. If you want to sing, just head upstairs for some karaoke.

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Iron Chef Burger – Bobby’s Burger Palace

June 7, 2013
Bobby’s Burger Palace, Philadelphia PA
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Sweet Potato Fries
Dallas Burger
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ImageI met up with a hall-mate from freshman year at Bobby’s Burger Palace. Somehow, I had never eaten there before. Since I started watching Bobby Flay on “Iron Chef America” a lot, I had meant to give his burgers a try sooner or later.

To start, I tried the Sweet Potato Fries. They were such a deal – a small bucket with chipotle aioli for only $3. You never see this at a more formal restaurant. They were crispy on the outside and sweet and mushy on the inside. The aioli had a hint of spice and was very creamy. This was a perfect way to start a burger meal.Image

I had my Dallas Burger ‘crunchified,’ which is adding a small stack of crispy potato chips inside the burger. It was so difficult to eat, having to press everything together. I had juice and the barbeque sauce all over my hands afterwards. The medium (pink throughout) beef patty was very juicy and not too greasy. The Monterey jack cheese was all melted and the coleslaw and pickles added some acidity. The bun was nicely toasted and overall, it was not a bad burger. Sure, it is not as creative as some I would get on the food trucks, but with such a nice atmosphere and not any more expensive, I’ll take it!

Bobby's Burger Palace on Urbanspoon

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Honestly Huge – Honest Tom’s Taco Shop

June 3, 2013
Honest Tom’s Taco Shop, Philadelphia PA
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Steak and Yucca Burrito
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ImageThinking I should try Honest Tom’s Taco Shop now that I have been to Tampopo since they are beside each other, I went the next day for one of their famous burritos.Image

The Steak and Yucca Burrito was incredibly satisfying. At $8 plus tax, it was huge and included not only the regular rice, beans, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, and cheese, but also creamy avocado. It really provides a smooth texture for the filling, binding everything together. The steak cubes were a little tough and the yucca cubes a little bland so next time, I would probably get chicken or sweet potato instead. Still, the quality was great and it was incredibly filling as well. 

Honest Tom's Taco Shop on Urbanspoon

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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. 

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The Sweeet Burger – Chewy’s

May 22, 2013
Chewy’s, Philadelphia PA
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Brie Burger
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ImageAs part of National Hamburger Month, I paid a visit to Chewy’s, a food truck that had not been around recently and just came back to serve University City full time again. This colourful truck is known for its burgers and chicken and waffles. 

Preferring something a little sweet and unique, I decided on the Brie Burger with caramelized onions, honey grilled apples, arugula, brie cheese, and black pepper mayo. The beef burger patty was so juicy and the sesame bun was nice and toasted. I loved the sweet onions and apples, one soft and the other a little tart. The brie was creamy and provided flavouring contrast while the arugula added a touch of bitterness. The mayo did not quite stand out but I just loved those apples!

Chewy's on Urbanspoon

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Shrimp Simple and Complicated – 粵之醉-Rainflower Restaurant

May 18, 2013
粵之醉 – Rainflower Restaurant, Richmond BC
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天天老火例汤 (Daily Special Soup)
清蒸游水虾 (Steamed Live Shrimp)

秘制香叶老虎虾 (Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Basil)
家乡杂菌牛仔柳 (Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms)
黑鱼火腩豆腐煲 (Black Cod Hot Pot with Tofu)
[Cookies]

[Sweet Bean Soup]
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ImageA family friend and his daughter went out to dinner with us since we have to met each other in quite a while, let alone had a nice chat. He picked Rainflower Restaurant, which I had always wanted to try despite never hearing any compliments. Not surprising, the place that is known for dim sum was quite empty on a Saturday evening. Even so, it took very long to get our dishes as the kitchen could not keep up with the minimal demand.Image

The 天天老火例汤 (Daily Special Soup) was very generic at best. I liked the winter melon and carrots but it could use more of those little almonds.Image

The 清蒸游水虾 (Steamed Live Shrimp) were very fresh. The shrimp were so juicy and succulent – I loved the bite. The dipping sauce was a little generic but had a nice soy flavour nonetheless. 

ImageThe 秘制香叶老虎虾 (Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Basil) was delicious although very expensive. The basil flavour was light but present and the sweet soy flavour really came through. The shrimp were again very succulent and had a lovely bite to them. They were fortunately not overcooked.Image

The 家乡杂菌牛仔柳 (Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms) was not very special. The shiitake and button mushrooms were good and juicy. The beef was okay. The flavour was just sort of salty and did not have any particular flavour. It was a little oily but also a tad sweet, which I do like. Image

The cod in the 黑鱼火腩豆腐煲 (Black Cod Hot Pot with Tofu) was tender and flaky with a nice, slightly soggy exterior. It did soak up the sweet soy flavour so it was all good. The cod was in cubes and was firm enough to stay together. The tofu was mediocre and the portion was extremely small.Image

For complimentary dessert, we got almond cookies and fried dough cookies. They were crunchy and lightly sweetened, going well with the sweeter red bean soup. 

Overall, I think the restaurant is seriously overpriced. I cannot say anything about the dim sum. While I love the slightly sweet flavour of most dishes, the taste still does not justify the small portions and extremely high prices.

Rainflower Restaurant 粵之醉海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

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Happy Mother’s Day – 九记-No. 9 Restaurant

May 12, 2013
九记 – No. 9 Restaurant, Richmond BC
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干煸四季豆 (Minced Pork & Green Bean in Chili Sauce)
豉椒牛肉饭 (Beef w/ Black Bean Sauce on Steamed Rice)
柠檬虾球 (Lemon Prawns)
鱼香茄子 (Minced Pork w/ Eggplant)
宫保鸡丁 (Diced Chicken & Cashews Marinated w/ Chili Peppers)
干炒牛河 (Soy Beef Rice Noodle (Dry))
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ImageGrandma liked 九记 (No. 9 Restaurant) during her last lunch there so we went there for Mother’s Day. It was one of the few restaurants that did not have a wait. It has been there for as long as I can remember, way back when there were only a few Chinese restaurants in Richmond. We did not like it back then. Now, it’s just place for a quick meal and family gathering.

We started with the 干煸四季豆 (Minced Pork & Green Bean in Chili Sauce) which was actually pretty decent. Deep fried green beans are just something you can’t do at home. The minced pork had quite a good, spicy and savoury flavour.

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The 豉椒牛肉饭 (Beef w/ Black Bean Sauce on Steamed Rice) was very generic but perhaps that’s why it was quite satisfying. The beef was tender and the black bean sauce thick and covering the rice. The peppers and onions were still crisp.Image

The 柠檬虾球 (Lemon Prawns) were not my favourite. The shrimp was still tender but the batter had no flavour. The lemon sauce was very sweet and made it kind of weird. It was like eating dessert with an entree.Image

The 鱼香茄子 (Minced Pork w/ Eggplant) was not as good as the previous time, according to my mother. It was not cooked long enough so while the eggplant were tender, the flavour did not penetrate the thick, long pieces. The sauce was good but it was just lacking some more time in the wok.Image

The 宫保鸡丁 (Diced Chicken & Cashews Marinated w/ Chili Peppers) was not authentic at all. There was a lot of cashews, though, despite somewhat lacking chicken. At least they did not just put in a bunch of peanuts. It needed more of a kick from the chili peppers.Image

The 干炒牛河 (Soy Beef Rice Noodle (Dry)) was actually more like a beef dish with accompanying rice noodles. It had a decent soy sauce flavour and the beef was plenty and flavourful. It was such a large portion that it did justify the price.

Overall, the portions were all humongous. The food is by no means fine dining quality, but for a casual restaurant serving up comfort food, it was decent enough!

No.9 Restaurant 九記 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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South Asia Food Comas – Vietnam Palace Restaurant

March 23, 2013
Vietnam Palace Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Papaya Salad w. Shrimp
Chicken Pad Thai
Broken Rice Deluxe

Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef
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ImageDinner with the team after a long day is always incredibly fun, especially considering how everyone is going in starving and coming out in food comas. That was and always will be the case. Everyone on this night felt like going to Chinatown since we were already there so we headed to Vietnam Palace Restaurant. 

My Papaya Salad w. Shrimp came first. There was a mound of that lovely shredded green papaya with several large shrimp that were tender and succulent. The two were both unflavoured apart from the fish sauce dressing that was sweet, sour, and a little spicy. I was in heaven with this salad. The peanuts added a nice crunch.Image

The Chicken Pad Thai some people got was okay. The noodles were a little sticky and there was not enough sauce to coat everything completely. There were plenty of bean sprouts and peanuts but I thought it lacked some egg. The chicken was also dry.Image

The Broken Rice Deluxe was basically rice served with pork chop, shredded pork, egg quiche, and a fried egg. The pork chop was juicy but a little tough. The shredded pork was very flavourful and tasty. The egg quiche was a little dry but okay and the fried egg was nice with the runny yolk. This was served with a side of the fish sauce dressing for the greens salad. I liked the combination but individually, only the egg quiche and shredded pork were appealing.Image

The Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef was actually decent. The vermicelli soaked up some of the slightly sweet sauce and the beef did as well, making it juicy and tender. I loved the array of vegetables, including mushrooms, bamboo shoots, broccoli, snow peas, and carrots. They were crunchy and refreshing. 

The decor was nice and service okay, although they did mess up the bill. It took a while for us to sort out everything but overall, we were all satisfied with our meal. Finally, I have found my perfect salad that is both economically and tastefully the best I have had. 

Vietnam Palace on Urbanspoon

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