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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Simply Good – Sushi Ten

July 25, 2013
Sushi Ten, Richmond BC
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Tiger Roll
Banzai Roll

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ImageGoing out for lunch by myself, I decided to give Sushi Ten a try. They were pretty busy with take out orders for such a small store. There were always people either eating in or taking out.

The Tiger Roll was great, with ebi on the outside covered with spicy sauce, or rather gochujang. I love the mix of sweet and spicy. Inside was your regular California roll – imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. Despite the slight simplicity, the roll was big and fresh, and thus very tasty.Image

The Banzai Roll was also tasty, with two prawn tempura inside along with kani, avocado, and cucumber. On top were unagi sauce and mayonnaise. This roll was also very good, thanks in part to the sauces for all the flavours. The prawn tempura was nice and the size was also very good for the price.

With most of these rolls around $5, Sushi Ten is extremely affordable. More importantly, it is very fresh and thus the sushi tastes great.

Sushi Ten 天壽司 on Urbanspoon

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Fishy Food Courts – Ivar’s Seafood Bar

July 19, 2013
Ivar’s Seafood Bar, Bellingham WA
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Shrimp Cocktail
Fish ‘n Chips

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ImageI was shopping by myself in Bellis Fair Mall while my parents headed to Costco. Deciding I have had enough after 20 minutes and not wanting to wait for my salad from Costco, I went to the food court and settled for Ivar’s Seafood Bar.

The Shrimp Cocktail was simple yet refreshing. The shrimp were tender and sweet and the cocktail sauce tangy. The celery made it crunchy and light.Image

The Fish ‘n Chips were not good, though. Everything was freshly fried so the French fries were crispy on the outside and piping hot. However, they were still frozen fries. The fish was also not the best. The cod was not great, though. It was flaky but not moist enough. The batter was more like a powdery mixture and very thin. It was not sticking together either, just way to thin. The pieces were small and skinny as well.

I guess fish and chips is best left to piers and docks. Only then will there be quality and quantity combined for the best value. 

Ivar's Seafood Bar on Urbanspoon

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Food Court Redeemed – Thai Express

July 16, 2013
Thai Express, Richmond BC
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Shrimp Spring Roll
Tofu Pad Thai

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ImageEver since Thai Express landed in Richmond Centre a few years back, my faith in food courts had been restored. It is seriously a great little stall with fresh, made-to-order generic Thai dishes. The flavours are usually pretty good, though!

The Shrimp Spring Roll was like one of those from Vietnam, with vermicelli, lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts, and shrimp inside, wrapped in rice paper. The peanut dipping sauce was sweet and lovely.Image

The Tofu Pad Thai had great flavour. No, it’s not real tamarind and instead, was more of a ketchup-based sauce. Still, it was good, and I did not really expect authentic. The portion was decent. I could have used more vegetables and the tofu did not really stay crispy but rather had soggy batter. The noodles were not overcooked though and it was still pretty good!

Now that Richmond Centre has built the Dining Terrace food court, the dining environment is so much more elegant, with comfy booth seats, high seats, group tables, couches, and convenient trash stations. This is certainly one of the best food courts I have been to, especially thanks to the decor.

Thai Express on Urbanspoon

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One Fish, Two Fish – Red Fish Blue Fish

July 13, 2013
Red Fish Blue Fish, Victoria BC
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Cod Fish + Chips
Tomato Basil Chilli Cod Tacone

Seafood Poutine
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ImageEach day just got hotter and hotter but I had to leave Victoria soon and I was not about to do so without having tried the most popular fish and chips in the city from the establishment of Red Fish Blue Fish, housed in a cute little shack on the edge of the water. I waited for around an hour on a sunny Saturday but my hard work paid off – the food was fabulous!

I started with Cod Fish + Chips. The batter on the cod was thick, crunchy, not too greasy, and had just wonderful flavours and texture. The fish was flaky and moist. The chips were fresh but the fish was fresher. The tartar sauce was nice and tangy, and the coleslaw was crunchy and by no means overdressed. Image

The Tomato Basil Chilli Cod Tacone was a daily special. The seasoned cod was grilled to perfection with the fish still flaky and moist but also very flavourful. I loved the coleslaw with the fish and the soft taco shell. The lime pickle aioli added another layer of flavour, making it tangy and fit for summer.

ImageThe Seafood Poutine, with shrimp, fish, and tuna belly bacon bits in a light, creamy miso-clam gravy, garnished with green onions and crispy shallots. It was quite salty but the texture was great and it was decently rich.

It is no wonder that there is always a long line down the dock outside Red Fish Blue Fish. They honestly need to speed up their ordering and cooking process as the line is just ridiculous. Very inefficient, if you ask me. The food, at reasonable prices, though, is just fantastic!

Red Fish, Blue Fish on Urbanspoon

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Victoria’s Prince of Italian Dining – Pagliacci’s

ImageJuly 12, 2013
Pagliacci’s, Victoria BC
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Marlene Dietrich
Prince of Tides
The Prawn Broker
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This popular Italian dining spot does not look fancy from the outside. Inside was more of the old, almost antique-looking photos and decor. What initially drew me in was the creative names for everything from cocktails to appetizers to entrees. Some were so hilarious! It was so crowded on a Friday night but being set on some of the best Italian food around, we decided to wait.

I started with the Marlene Dietrich martini, with Canadian whiskey, Cointreau, orange, lemon, and bitters. The description quoted Marlene Dietrich saying “Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful, I just know what to do with them.” I just could not resist after that. It was a good mix of bitter, tangy, and sweet.Image

My entree was the Prince of Tides, a spinach salad with seared scallops, portobello mushrooms, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and crispy pancetta, with a basil pesto dressing. My only complaint was the salad was overly greasy from the pancetta and the scallops. Otherwise, all the ingredients were some of my favourite foods ever. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the mushrooms were tender.Image

Dad got The Prawn Broker, a pasta dish with jumbo prawns in a coconut milk and cashew curry sauce with mango chutney and cream over a bed of spinach fettuccine. The prawns were succulent and juicy and the cashews provided a nice, crunchy textural contrast. The pasta was nice and al dente and the sauce was addictive – sweet, tangy, and creamy. It was a great blend of Indian and Italian!

I would come back to Pagliacci’s in a heartbeat to try some of their other seemingly amazing pastas and interestingly-named cocktails. This is definitely a ‘hidden’ gem in Victoria and a must for anyone who appreciates a good pasta!

Pagliacci's on Urbanspoon

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Warmed Up by the Bowl – Le Petit Saigon

July 11, 2013
Le Petit Saigon, Victoria BC
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Seafood Noodle Soup
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ImageWith so much food at the conference centre and a chilly sea breeze throughout town, we opted for a warm bowl of pho noodle soup at Le Petit Saigon.

The Seafood Noodle Soup included fish, prawns, and squid but was otherwise very bland. The seafood did not have much taste and the broth was just okay. The noodles were way overcooked and in very short pieces. Maybe it was because it was almost closing time but the quality should not have to suffer. For around $10, I expected something better with more, fresher seafood. 

Le Petit Saigon on Urbanspoon

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Summer in Greece – Opa!

July 11, 2013
Opa!, Victoria BC
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Summer Salad with Shrimp
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ImageNot wanting Burger King, I chose to go to Opa! in the food court at the mall next to our hotel and get a Summer Salad with Shrimp. It was a refreshing Greek salad, with dressing on the side. The shrimp skewer was juicy and very tender, almost undercooked but still made for a light lunch.

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Thai on the Island – Baan Thai Restaurant

July 10, 2013
Baan Thai Restaurant, Victoria BC
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Lychee Martini
Som Tum Goong
Phad Thai Gai
Macua Pad Moo

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ImageI recently went with my dad and his colleague to Vancouver Island and though it was a great opportunity to try some of the Island’s best restaurants.

Our first night after checking in at the hotel led us to Baan Thai Restaurant, which is apparently the best Thai restaurant on the Island. About half of the restaurant was filled and the service was very friendly. The food was quite good overall, despite being a tad bit pricey for some of the dishes.

I started with a Lychee Martini. I just love lychees and so the sweetness with the Smirnoff vodka, Soho, and white grape juice tasted quite pleasant.Image

My Som Tum Goong – green papaya salad with prawns – was absolutely mouthwatering. I asked for extremely spicy and boy, that turned up the heat. My mouth was not just burning but probably charred by the end. I loved it though! The prawns were tender and there were loads of green papaya shred. It was a tad pricey but a great-tasting dish.Image

Dad ordered the Phad Thai Gai – stir-fried thin rice noodles with tamarind, ground peanuts, and chicken. A good pad Thai is hard to find and this was average. It had a good, sweet and spicy flavour but a little bland. More sauce would have helped. Also lacking was the amount of scrambled eggs. I always love the eggs in my pad Thai and so does Dad. The chicken was a little dry as well.Image

Finally, we shared the Macua Pad Moo – stir-fried eggplant with pork. The pork was okay but the eggplant was soft and delicious. It had a nice spicy and sweet flavour with a little soy taste as well. It was a little greasy but considering they were eggplants, I totally understand.

It’s hard to find good Thai food in BC so I’m not surprised this is considered the best on the Island. While it was not the best I’ve ever had, it was certainly above average and satisfied my cravings for overly spicy foods.

Baan Thai Restaurants on Urbanspoon

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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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