Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This is why I'm Fat

There's a blog out there called and I'm thinking about changing the name of my blog to  And here are a couple of reasons why:

Sylvie's Double Chocolate cookies with mint?

Sylvie's Double-Chocolate Brownies

Gigi's Festive Rice Crispie Squares

Linda's Short Bread with Jelly.

Mmmmm....Linda's Butter Tarts.

More Fudge Brownies, these ones from Linda.

My co-workers Simon and Linda.

It's the holiday season and my co-workers are fantastic chefs and bakers that bring in these incredible confections that rival the pros.  Cheers to my friends at work, and happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Po King Seafood Restaurant

The best way to put Po King Seafood Restaurant is a place that prides itself on two things: Arguably the worst possible customer service in the lower mainland of British Columbia (well, maybe next to Angel Cake Cafe), and good cheap dim sum.  I was there on the weekend with my parents amd despite the awful customer service, I'd probably go back.  First, for the food - it ain't bad.  Second, for entertainment purposes - watching the nasty boss lady tear some poor customer a new one was hilarious.

The place was pretty big, and it was just packed to the brim.  I think if a fire inspector came into this place, it would be/should be shut down as it must have been way over legal capacity. 

Awesome company policy posted by the entrance....probably for tax evasion purposes.

This is just a short clip of the the hostess of this establishment.  Apparently, she is the manager/owner and her rudeness is well known in the community.  In the video, she almost seems tame compared to some of the other things I witnessed.  I saw her actually tug on and pull on customer's sleeves and clothes when leading them to overcrowded tables, as if they were children or animals.  It was comical watching her tell off customers with her English/Cantonese (regardless if they were Chinese/nonChinese), all the while shaking her head and rudely gesturing with her arms and hands.  Haha, I saw her barking (quite rudely) in Cantonese to a family of three who clearly did not speak Cantonese.  They fully understood her body language without any problems though - there were no need for words.  Now, it should be noted that some of her staff were actually nice and almost apologetic in the way they if you tell the customers sorry for having such brutal treatment from the nasty boss lady.
Anyway, my parents and I were crammed into a tiny little corner, buried behind three other tables into a corner.  The area we were wedged into was supposedlly a private dining area that could be opened up with a folding wall.  The management decided to cram 5 tables into this tiny area (where there probably should have been only one large table), and servers had to reach over other tables to get the food to us.  If there were a kitchen fire, we would be dead....the things I do for food.

Now, if Ikea should do a little investigating about why they go through so many pencils, they should visit Po King Seafood Restaurant, and maybe some AYCE sushi places.  Ok, now enough moaning about how crappy this place is and on to some of the reasons to visit this place.  The hagow/xiajiao were huge, much like this other place I went to called The One.  Compared to The One though, Po King's hagow/xiajiao were light years ahead in terms of flavour. 

Here's a hagow/xiajiao next to a teacup.

The siumai were also massive, but they were a little off.  Usually, siumai is made up of pork chunks and sometimes prawn right?  Po King's siumai were made up of pork that may have been through the grinder a bit too long...well, at least on this day anyway. 
The steamed pork spareribs were big, and the portion was big.  The filler was squash, which is way better than this other place I went to recently that used tofu.  The spareribs were seasoned well and tasted good overall.  Big bones and lots of cartilidge, but you get what you pay for, and that's not very much.

My dad ordered springrolls, something he almost never does.  He usually doesn't eat springrolls, but on this day, he got them.  They were okay, lots of ground pork inside, skin was nice and crispy.  I should point out a this point, that because we were crammed into a corner and surrounded by tables, there was no way the dim sum carts would make it into where we were sitting.  The logical thing to do was whenever we saw a cart go by, either my dad or I pushed our way out of our cordoned off area, and picked up the food oursevles, while hanging on to our order sheet.  It was essentially self-serve (for hot water, for chili/mustard sauce, for extra napkins and for dim sum) msot of the time. 

This was something I never tried, and if word got out I actually liked a vegetarian dish, my friends would never believe it.  Anyway, steamed rice rolls with three different types of mushrooms. This was actually really, really good.  I would have ordered another one, but I wanted to try other dishes here.

Ah, my mom's favourite - the sesame balls....and not the ones filled with red bean paste, just these giant deep fried monsters....God knows why she likes these so much.  Anyway, these suckers were huge, but for me, not that exciting. 

Now, when I first saw this dish, I thought it was the traditional zhaliang (it's beyond me how you spell it), Chinese donut wrapped in the steam rice roll.  But I was fooled.  This was some weird new concoction I'd never seen before - fish paste wrapped in deep fried tofu skin, then wrapped in the steamed rice roll.  I felt a bit ripped off on this because I wanted the original.  This version didn't really do it for be because first, I'm not a fan of fish paste, second, the tofu skin wasn't really crispy and it was at times a bit tough and chewy. 

By the time this last dish rolled around for us, we were quite full, and our bill came out to next to nothing.  I couldn't believe how cheap this place was.  I thought to myself that despite the spectacularly crappy service, it would be worth coming back.  Then I went the can and found the typical filthy washroom that had condensation and moisture on everything, along with a clogged toilet and pee everywhere....and that's when I started having second thoughts.  Yeah, sure, there was a token checklist like most other places, but I seriously doubt anyone had been in there to clean since the night before. 

It's been a whole day, and I haven't been screaming to the toilet with any stomach trouble or projectile vomiting so I guess it must have been safe to eat there.  So, weighing the pros and cons, along with some health risks:  Okay, they're not serving raw food - everything is cooked and most bacteria and germs are probably killed right?  One can only hope.  The food is cheap, and it tastes good. 

The service is crap - so crappy that it was entertaining to watch.  I know, I'm usually a stickler for customer service and I'm also usually the first one to complain about crap service.  But compared to say, Angel Cake Cafe's idiot of a host/manager, I don't feel any sort of favouritism or discrimination from the nasty boss lady - haha, she hates everyone equally.  I guess when it boils down to the question - "would I go back?", I would probably say yes.  Haha, the place is so over the top, I'd have to go back, just to make sure it wasn't some weird dream.

Po King Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tropika - Robson

The worst time to write a review is when you're hungry.  I took these pictures a while ago, but didn't bother doing the write up until now, and all I can think of is sitting in Tropika and stuffing my face.  I went there a while ago for a friend's birthday, so someone else did all the ordering.  The stuff pictured below....I have no idea what any of it is called.

So, what's a guy who knows nothing about Malay cuisine doing reviews on Malasian Restaurants?  Well, I suppose you could look at it from a complete beginner's point of view, and see that even the inexperienced can enjoy somethings they've never tried before.
Can I take a guess and say this is Roti Canai?  No, I better not.  All I know is that bread/pastry next to the bowl of curry is one of the fluffiest bread/pastry I've ever had.  It didn't absort the curry all that well, but that was okay, I just double-dipped until I had a satisfactory amount of curry on it and then stuffed my face.  The curry was thin, but rich at the same time.  Delicious.

This was the satay - my only complaint was we didn't order enough.  At a buck twenty a stick, you really can't go wrong.
Nasi Goreng - my first experience with this dish and I really liked it.  The dark color gives it the illusion that it maybe extremely salty, but not the case.  It was seasoned perfectly, and I have a thing for runny eggs on rice...perfect combo.
The Pineapple Fried Rice was good.  As you may have read I like my fried rice shiny.  If it's dried out, it's no good.  Shine comes from the oil though, so it's not particularly healthy, but it tastes way better.
Pad Thai - I'm not a big fan of bean sprouts, to me it's just a filler, but it went well with this dish and made it really refreshing.
Sliced Lemon Chicken.  This dish was alright, nothing spectacular - I could have made this at home.
I have no idea what this was called, but it was delicious....I can only imagine what it would have tasted like on coconut rice, but my friend devoured most of it and I probably would have had a heart attack.

The portions aren't ginormous or anything, but after sampling several different dishes, I found myself quite content.  Just about everything I had tasted good and left me wanting more.  The price was reasonable and the service was good.  Robson's a bit of a pain to find parking, let alone fight through traffic to get there, but once in a while, I'm in downtown and I definitely would like to go back sometime.

Tropika (Downtown) on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 20, 2010


A couple of friends and I got together for our bonenkai, our forget-the-year-party this weekend and stuffed our faces over a set menu that was deceptively filling.  Plus we got a bit liquored up along the way, after all, it is an izakaya!
Our set meal started off with a tofu dish, not one of my favourite dishes as it had no meat in it, but having a hearty meal wasn't the point of our visit.  It turned out be a nice light way to get started.  The tofu wasn't the run-of-the-mill packaged stuff, this tofu was probably of good grade and it just had a different taste and texture to it.
Of course what kind of beer or sake could be properly consumed without edamame?

The gomae here is a bit different than most other places.  Yes, there was some sort of sesame sauce in there, even a few sesame seeds, but what makes Zakkushi's gomae different is the sauce.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they use a pit of ponzu in it to give it some tartness.....anyway, it's good.

Ah, the yakitori, Zakkushi's bread and butter.  The charcoal flavour is just that much better than gas grilled.  Yeah, it's not healthy, but it tastes great, so just don't eat it everyday.

Crunchy soba salad (not really sure what it was actually called) was surpisingly good and was a nice refresher half-way through our meal.

More skewers!  The beef was garnished with daikon oroshi (mizore - shredded daikon seasoned with ponzu)

The beef was good, nice and rare.

P-toro, my all-time favourite dish at Zakkushi - how can you go wrong with pork belly?  I could have eaten this all night.

The ebi-mayo came on a skewer.  Not sure if it was just the way they do it now, or was it because of the set dinner.  Anyway, it was good...just wish I had more!

Bacon-wrapped asparagus.  The p-toro really stole the thunder from these, which are normally quite good.

Chicken karage, with some daikon orishi for dip.

The ahi-tuna salad wasn't the last item on our set menu (it was yaki udon), but it's the last picture because my camera ran out of batteries.  Anwyay, the Ahi Tuna Salad was good overall but you gotta eat it the right way.  The greens had a lot of flavour but the tuna was just seared and unseasoned.  I think you're supposed to mix up the tuna and the salad and eat it together, but we didn't quite figure that out because of the way it was plated. 

The place was packed this night, and there were people waiting to be seated all night.  The only downside for this particular night was really that they were understaffed.  Only two servers, and I think one of them was quite new.  They didn't have time to clear the dishes before bringing new ones so it got cluttered at times, but it was okay, I was too buzzed to care.

True Confections - Alma and Broadway

$16 for a sliver of cake and a cup of tea???  What's the world coming to???  Well, that was my reaction after, but I knew what I was getting into well before going.  I've been to the location on Denman a couple of times, and even bought a whole cake from the Alma location once before so the sky-high prices are nothing new to me.
Like the Denman location, the True Confections on Alma has a large assortment of some of the finest, richest cakes you will ever eat. 

The Mocha Buttercream.

My personal favourite, the Milk Chocolate Hazelnut. 

For the first time since I've been going to True Confections, I wasn't able to finish my cake.  Though I was whining about the small portions (or what I perceived to be a small portion), it actually was quite filling.
They've got some seasonal deserts right now, but I stuck with what I know is good.  This was some sort of cheesecake that was incredibly rich, even for me.  I took a few bites of the samples they were handing out and I decided against it.

This was another cheesecake that felt like it was condensed from 10 cheesecakes.  Just over the top rich. 

This one was surprisingly not that rich.  It was very light, but flavourful.

I was surprised to see that the Alma location get packed.  It was about 8pm or so when we showed up and managed to get a table of 8.  Shortly after, there was a line-up forming at the entrance and the next thing we know, it was packed. 

The staff were friendly enough, and didn't pressure us or hound us to leave or anything.  They were friendly, they made sure that our water glasses were full and our teapots always had hot water.  The pricing is not in my happy range, but once in a while, you gotta spoil yourself and take in a million calories.  Would I go back?  I'm already thinking of my next visit...but for health reasons, I will make sure it's not for a while.

True Confections (Broadway) on Urbanspoon

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