Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

A Little Lunch Spot – Village Sushi Bar

July 31, 2013
Village Sushi Bar, Richmond BC
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Oyako-Don
Deluxe Futomaki
Tamago Nigiri
Inari Nigiri
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ImageThere is something particularly comforting about sitting in a small lunch spot, a family-owned and operated little place. Village Sushi Bar was such a place – and next time, I must try some of their fish and sashimi.

The Oyako-Don was nice and hot. The chicken was a tad over cooked in places but the flavour was light yet good. I could use a little more sauce and broth with the rice but it was still good – especially for only $6.50.Image

The Deluxe Futomaki had good rice and was wrapped nicely. Nothing fell out despite being such a huge roll. There was unagi and prawn inside and the flavours meshed nicely with the spinach, shiitake, tamago, and cucumber.Image

I always think you can tell a lot with trying certain common items, so I ordered the Tamago Nigiri and the Inari Nigiri. I love sweet and sour flavours mixed with rice. The Tamago was good – not overly sweet but nice and eggy. The inari was sweet enough and at $1 a piece, these were certainly a great deal. Image

This little place has a slow but steady flow of customers who all seem to like the friendly service and affordable prices. It’s certainly a very convenient take-out place in west Richmond.

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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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Paris in Japan – Sushi Han

July 29, 2013
Sushi Han, Richmond BC
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Paris Roll
Oyako Don
Geso Nigiri
Crab Salad Nigiri

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ImageThere were many individuals eating at Sushi Han so I decided to join them. The service was quick and friendly and the food was quite satisfying.

The Paris Roll had smoked salmon, avocado, and lettuce. I did not care much for the salmon but it was a good combination of savoury and creamy.Image

The Oyako Don lacked a tad of the sweet broth to go with all the rice but the flavour was light and delicious. The egg was nicely scrambled with the caramelized onions and the chicken was very tender and juicy.Image

The Geso Nigiri had a piece of very chewy squid. It had a mild BBQ flavour but could hardly be bitten through. It had wasabi between the squid and rice, the traditional Japanese way of eating nigiri sushi. The rice was vinegary and good.Image

The Crab Salad Nigiri had a lot of crab salad so the ratio of topping to rice was good. The imitation crab was mixed with plenty of mayonnaise to give it a creamy texture and bring out the natural sweetness.

Sushi Han is clearly very popular for casual lunches. The meal came in around $15 so it was definitely acceptable. I will be back for sure!

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Seafood Fusion – Baker One

July 7, 2013
Baker One, Richmond BC
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Seafood Omurice
Black Pepper Seafood Pasta
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ImageAs we wondered through Aberdeen, a friend and I decided to stop at Baker One for lunch since we did not want to eat at the food court or go into some high-end Chinese restaurant. This seemed like a cute little café, very clean and bright with the tall glass windows.

I had the Seafood Omurice with the tomato sauce and fried rice on the inside. It tasted fairly good, with the tomato sauce tangy and sweet. The egg omelet was delicious with the sauce and the seafood – squid, scallops, mussels, and prawns – were tender as well. The fried rice on the inside went nicely with the egg and the sauce, so, overall, it was quite nice for ‘high-end’ comfort food.Image

My friend ordered their special of the day – Black Pepper Seafood Pasta. The seafood was the same – three squid rings, three prawns, two scallops, and a mussel – but the sauce was a little bland. It had a good black pepper taste but was otherwise not very flavourful with just a touch of olive oil. The pasta was al dente but the portion was small so for a similar price, the omurice was much more worth it.

I can see why this place will not get full on a regular basis. The food is quite basic and not much of a fusion in comparison to the other HK-style cafes in the area. However, their entrees are at least $4-5 more expensive, perhaps due to the location in Aberdeen or the more elegant décor. Either way, the food must deliver and for the price, it is just not up to par with other places.

Baker One Cafe 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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Japanese Temptations – Tampopo

June 2, 2013
Tampopo, Philadelphia PA
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Fresh Crunch Roll
Vegetable Bowl w/ Chicken Breast
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ImageI have heard of Tampopo, a casual Japanese restaurant a few blocks off campus, since last year but not until recently did I go with a group of friends from dance after a weekend lesson. I liked it so much that I went back for dinner that night as well.

The Fresh Crunch Roll is one of their special rolls for the summer. Inside the cucumber-wrapped rice were ebi, unagi, and avocado. It was certainly a sweet and crunchy mix that was very much to my liking. The thick cucumber was a much better wrap than the regular nori, making it very fresh, just like summer. The sweet unagi paired well with the creamy avocado and the ebi added a chewier texture.Image

That evening, I went back for the Vegetable Bowl w/ Chicken Breast. It was a total of seventeen vegetables – bean sprouts, broccoli florets, broccoli stems, carrots, red peppers, green peppers, celery, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy, and a couple others that I cannot recall – with a sweet teriyaki-soy sauce over brown rice. The chicken breast was sliced and a little tough and dry. It was lightly seared and tasted okay only when I soaked it in the sauce. Still, it was such a satisfying meal.

Tampopo 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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Red Eggplants and Chicken – Lovash Indian Cuisine

April 29, 2013
Lovash Indian Cuisine, Philadelphia PA
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Chicken Tikka
Bengan Bhurta
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ImageLovash Indian Cuisine is another one of those food trucks that I was aware of since I first got to campus but never got around to trying. They are the only Indian food truck left so I was excited to see what they have to offer. While they are priced slightly above the Chinese options, I do enjoy having the different flavours.

The Chicken Tikka was freshly cooked on the grill with yogurt-marinated chicken and assorted vegetables. The chicken had spices on the outside but the inside was a little dry and bland. The vegetables were nice but I found them a little greasy from the grill. At least there was celery to celebrate National Celery Month! I think a sauce would have been better so maybe the tikka masala next time would be better.Image

Being a fan of eggplant, I had to try the Bengan Bhurta. Unfortunately, it came out of a warmer tin rather than being made to order. The eggplant was half mashed and the sauce it came in was quite good with a light, creamy tomato flavour but still some spices mixed in. It went well with the rice.

Apparently, the menu gets changed once in a while so it will be nice to try some other dishes. Indian food is just another one of those that I crave every once in a while and the only food truck specializing in it is Lovash. 

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Martial Arts Food – Kung Fu Hoagies

April 18, 2013
Kung Fu Hoagies, Philadelphia PA
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Meatball Bánh Mì
Veggie “Shrimp” Fried Rice
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ImageI have had my eye on the colorful cart otherwise known as Kung Fu Hoagies for quite a while. Serving up vegetarian Vietnamese street food, they have a small menu of a regular bahn mi and two noodle soups (spicy ramen and pho). 

The Meatball Bánh Mì was actually quite delicious with three tofu meatballs, vegan ham, fried onions, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños, spicy red sauce, and vegan mayo. The roll was crispy and tough on the outside but soft on the inside. The flavours were certainly traditional and some tht I had not tasted for some time. I do feel that for $5 this was overpriced. Food trucks and especially food carts are supposed to be cheap, even if these are vegetarian and vegan ingredients.
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The special was the Veggie “Shrimp” Fried Rice, which had vegetarian shrimp that were incredibly chewy. It also had carrots, green beans, and onions with scallions to top it off. I wish there were more vegetables and maybe even some eggs. However, the rice was cooked to a nice texture and had the smoky grill taste that added to the otherwise bland flavour. I would suggest to add either seasoning sauce or the spicy sauce on this.

I do not think I will be back anytime soon but the guys serving the food were nice. This is a great option for vegetarians and vegans but if you are neither, go somewhere cheaper.

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Monterey in Ireland – New Deck Tavern

April 16, 2013
New Deck Tavern, Philadelphia PA
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Monterey Chicken
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ImageA club hosted a dinner at New Deck Tavern, an Irish casual restaurant on the Sansom Strip. I was glad to have the chance and try something. The atmosphere was relaxing and slightly antique-looking. The menu has something for everyone, from Irish traditional plates to your usual burgers, salads, and generic pub fare.

My Monterey Chicken was a little dry but thankfully, the BBQ glaze, applewood smoked bacon, and cheese on top made the bland chicken breast flavourful and somewhat juicier. The cheese was a blend of aged cheddar and Monterey jack, which had a nice combined flavour. The rice pilaf was decent and not too greasy while the vegetables were simple but a nice side to go with the dish. Overall, it was a decent meal in a relaxing atmosphere. 

New Deck Tavern on Urbanspoon

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