On South Granville bustling corridor sits Rise Eatery. I am so glad I was introduced to this restaurant. The decor is modern and bright and clean and the service is friendly and knowledgable. The menu is creative and executed very well.
VANCOUVER – Gold-winning Tojo’s of Vancouver Magazine’s “Best upscale Japanese 2013” Restaurant Awards has combined forces with five of Vancouver’s top Japanese restaurants for the first ever Sakura Night (Sakura means cherry tree in Japanese), hosted by Tojo’s Restaurant on March 30, 2014. Tojo’s Restaurant, Zen Japanese Restaurant, RawBar at Fairmont Pacific Rim, Seventeen89, Miku Restaurant and Zakkushi will be creating seasonal dishes to guarantee an extraordinary standing dinner experience in the elegant ambience of Tojo’s.
This special evening event opens the 8th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) while creating delicious culinary memories of Japanese cuisine. Nobu Ochi from Zen will entice appetites with Ocean Wise-certified ingredients and RawBar’s Takayuki Omi will create sensory experiences for the palate with flavours of the Pacific Northwest. Daryle Nagata (Seventeen89) will tantalize taste buds with his combination of fresh and seasonal local ingredients, Kazuya Matsuoka will present Miku’s famed aburi (flame-seared) sushi and Masahito Iwamoto will be grilling Zakkushi’s mouth-watering yakitori skewers in-house, sharing the authentic cherry blossom festival experience from Japan with guests.
“We are so excited to be a part of the Festival and celebrate our cherry blossom cultural experience with the creation of Sakura Night ~ a new evening opening to the festival. It celebrates a very important part of our Japanese culture and gives our best local Japanese chefs a chance to share with pride their incredible food with Festival fans” Chef Hidekazu Tojo.
As Canada’s only cherry blossom festival, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a charitable, not-for-profit society celebrating our urban nature and the fragile, fleeting beauty of the cherry blossom. Funds raised at Sakura Night enable the Festival to continue to deliver meaningful and accessible, quality programming to strengthen citizen’s connection and engagement in our diverse communities. VCBF speaks to multiculturalism, the arts, community engagement, and to the environment by helping to sustain and renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage.
Date: Sunday, March 30, 2014
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Cherry Blossom Martini Welcome followed by a standing dinner reception
Place: Tojo’s Restaurant, 1133 West Broadway, Vancouver
Tickets: Limited tickets at $150 with a $100 tax receipt issued by VCBF for purchase at VCBF.ca
About the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival:
Vancouver’s signature springtime event, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a month-long celebration of the cherry tree through unique cultural programming including the performing and visual arts, literary, film screenings, design installations, exhibitions, culinary and creative cultural arts. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a charitable, not-for-profit society whose mandate is to sustain and renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage while educating and engaging community in celebration of the fragile beauty of the cherry blossom.
Eat Chicken Wraps is a fairly new food cart hanging outside the open patio on Robson Square. Bringing in their Chinese cultural background and marrying it with multicultural inspirations in Canada, the husband/wife duo, Dan and Sammy, have created fusion menu that focuses on wraps, rolls, and hotdogs.
Based on the pictures and the name of the cart, I’ve skipped past the cart a few times thinking that it wouldn’t be unique – Chinese people making wraps? Didn’t sound like a winner to me.
Well, I got an invitation to try their more Asian-inspired dishes, the Hoisin Chicken Roll and the Kung Pao Chicken Wrap, and left impressed!
I received the Hoisin Chicken Roll ($7) first. It consisted of “crispy Chinese pancake, five spice chicken, Asian salad, pickled radish, green onions, and hoisin sauce”. The brilliance of this wrap is the fact that they use a Chinese pancake as the wrap instead of pita! This totally changes everything.
Not only was it a great idea to use a Chinese pancake (like the kind used in Taiwanese beef onion pancake rolls), theirs was amazingly crispy and not crazy oily. If you’ve tried the beef rolls from places like Wang’s Beef Noodle House or Beefy Beef, you’ll probably know what I mean by oily beef rolls.
Fantastic pancake, I would just eat it on its own! The hoisin sauce was good; it wasn’t too salty or too bland, which means they used the good Asian stuff. While the salad in the roll wasn’t anything amazing, it added freshness to the whole roll and added even more crunch. The five spice chicken had a nice grill taste to it and was very tender.
The Kung Pao Chicken (2 for $7) was not bad. It didn’t impress me as much as the Hoisin Chicken Roll.
It had chicken, kungpao sauce, sesame chilli oil, and more on iceberg lettuce. I really liked the little fried bits of noodles. It added a nice crunch and texture that isn’t typically found in Asian lettuce wraps. Besides that though, there wasn’t much flavour that I could really make out besides the sesame chilli oil (it was a bit on the spicy side!).
Eat Chicken Wraps also has a ‘secret’ menu item for their social media followers – the Poutine Al Pastor (7$). I highly recommend this one!
It’s a poutine with the toppings found in their Al Pastor Chicken Wrap: Mexican roasted chicken, pico de galio, guacamole, grilled pineapple, cilantro, lime juice, lettuce, and onions. In other words, a mouthgasm of epic proportions!
The fries were good nice and crispy, but the toppings really made this poutine stand out. It’s a pretty huge poutine and it’s bang on delicious. I loved the guacamole sauce they put on this!
If you’re in the area, definitely try them out. They’re one of the few food carts that actually stay late enough to serve dinner (they’re there seven days a week from 11am-9pm, which means that you can grab a delicious Hoisin Chicken Wrap after a heavy session of dancing at the Robson Square Dance or after work!
Ubud is where you can find amazing authentic Balinese food. The traditional market is located with exotic spices like saffron and hot chili peppers is located in the heart of Ubud.
A popular authentic Balinese dish is babi guling and, one of the best places to try this dish is at Ibu Oka in Ubud. Their slogan is “warungBabi Guling” which translates to House of BBQ Pork. Babi guling is juicy suckling pig that is roasted on a spit for hours. Ibu Oka is located kiddy corner from the traditional market.
It was the crispiest pork skin and the juiciest pork I’ve ever had. I absolutely recommend anyone that is traveling to Indonesia to try it.
Sayur – vegetables, beans papaya with fresh coconut
After a whole day of lounging around with my sister and her boyfriend chowing down pepperoni sticks and cured meats at Granville Island I was ready for a real meal.
We hiked (in a sense, it’s uphill) from Granville Island to W Broadway for Kaya Malay Bistro.
Menu and decor reminded me of Banana Leaf and Tropika.
Char Bee Hoon, fried rice noodle with shrimp, fish cake, squid, bean sprout, & egg $10 Nice wok-like flavour, reminiscent of homemade shrimp fried noodles. 4/5
Rendang Beef Tender beef stewed in spiced coconut milk gravy $14. The curry sauce lacked intensity. Granted Thai curry is on the milder side of the curry spectrum. The beef should have been stewed a lot longer, it was tough and stringy. 2/5
Satay $1.5 per skewer Chicken, Beef , Lamb, & Vegetarian, Charcoal grilled marinated skewers with a spicy peanut dip Vegetarian satay with cherry tomato, mushroom & Japanese squash. The skewers lacked the smoky flavor. The vegetable skewers were disappointing, go for the beef instead.
Roti Canai $6 Handrolled layered flat bread with curry sauce, 2 pieces,came out lukewarm, I like them hot off the stove. Because they were cold when they arrived they were soft. 3/5
Sambal Green Bean $10Stir fried crispy green beans in Malaysian style shrimp paste and fresh tomato and our second favourite dish of the night 4.5/5
Langkawi Coconut Prawn, deep fried prawns in a light tempura, flavored with shredded coconut $10. The outside was crisp and had a hint of coconut and the prawns were juicy and fresh. Delicious! 5/5
Deep Fried Banana. Delayed for more than 20 minutes, by this time I asked to cancel. It was nice that they took care of this dish, however we had to wait 10 more minutes… the lengths we will do for free food. No picture sorry, we attacked the deep friend banana’s before I even considered to take a pic.
Minami Japanese fine dining restaurant opened their doors this Spring and it has become my go to restaurant this Summer.
Minami Japanese Restaurant, located in Yaletown and sister restaurant to Miku, a fine dining Japanese restaurant in the heart of Coal Harbour meets high expectations. I’ve been to both, the menu is very similar but, the atmosphere and décor is much nicer at Minami.
The service was impeccable right from when we entered to when we left.
It is a rare treat, when all the dishes scored between 4 -5 out of 5!
Now the Food…
We started with the Shiso Mojito Watermelon and Citrus Cured Scallops, mojito infused watermelon, montchevre goat cheese, micro greens, pickled celery, cucumber, a light salad to prepare our paletes. Creative ingredients that melded so well and gave a refreshing blend of flavours. 4.5/5
We were recommended to try the calamari, everyone that went to Minami raved about this dish.
Calamari, nori tempura batter, brussels sprout chips, pickled tomatoes, tosazu sauce. The batter was heavenly, so light, not the usual American calamari. This is one of their popular dishes. 4/5
Miso Baked Duck Breast, ginger braised carrots, watercress, sweet potato fondant, orange reduction. This dish is slightly different from the one offered at Miku. I much prefer the duck breast at Minami. Again, this dish was able to hit my entire palette, sour, sweet, spicy, salty. 4.5/5
Minami and Miku are known for their Aburi Sushi, a roll that is pressed and then lightly seared and, topped with the secret Miku sauce. We tried dissecting the sauce, the two ingredients we all agreed on were sesame and soy sauce but, that is a given, it’s the base of almost all Japanese, Chinese sauces.
Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi, pressed local salmon, jalapeño, miku sauce, my favourite dish. It was sooo good. 5/5
Aburi Saba Oshi Sushi, pressed mackerel, miku miso sauce. Once again they hit this out of the ball park, a terrific dish. 4.5/5.
I keeping my fingers crossed, Minami will stay open longer than the other predecessors at this location, Goldfish being one of that recently closed. Their dishes were made with creativity and detail. The ingredients were fresh and, I will be recommending this place to my picky foodies.
Hapa Izakaya version 4.0. By now Vancouverites should be very familiar with Japanese tapas. Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour formerly known as Hapa Umi, is popular amongst the after work crowd just happy to relax with cheap food and drinks.
Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour used to be a upscale hapa but, I guess Vancouverites got so used to Hapa’s original menu and prices that it just did not fly. Now they have a menu very similar to all the other Hapa’s
Happy Hour Details:
3- 6 PM
Monday to Friday
Everything on the Happy Hour menu including the house wine and beer is under $5. I know UNDER $5!!!
Now the food…
Starting with my favourite dish the Ika, grilled squid, sake soy garlic marinade. The smoky flavour really came through. It was cooked perfectly, the texture was still crunchy.
Ebi Mayo, was overcooked and the batter was too thick.
Chicken Karaage, it was juicy and tender on the inside but the outside was not as crispy as I would have liked
Beef tataki, lacked flavor, I’m not a big fan of any dish squirted with a thick blob of chilli sauce.
Rennkon Gyoza, minced pork layered with lotus root and tempura. This was surprisingly nice, the lotus root added a crunchy texture.
Overall, it stood a little above pub food but, the atmosphere and service was so fun. The servers were hot. We sat in a booth so I was eye level with the server’s busty boobs. I couldn’t help staring at them, they were everywhere. It may be raunchy but, take it as it is, Hapa Izakaya doesn’t claim to be a Michelin star restaurant, it’s more along the lines of Cactus Club. If you are complaining about girls and guys flaunting their bodies (I might add, it wasn’t distasteful) go somewhere else.