Saturday, May 29, 2010

Snacks at work

One tradition at my current job is bringing food and sharing.  Friday was no exception.  One of my co-workers is leaving on Mat leave and a little sharing was done.  One particular treat needs a little special attention - the butter tarts. 

I'l like to credit God for making these as they are from heaven, but actually, the sweet buttery goodness you see before you were made by my friend and co-worker, Linda.  She made them around Christmas as well, and I think I ate most of the tin at the time.  She brought a larger tray of these delights this time, and they were literally gone by the end of the day, with no left-overs for Monday.


Monaka is a Japanese sweet that usually comes pre-assembled, but to keep the wafer fresh and crispy, this is a do-it-yourself.

The filling in this monaka was made of anko (red bean paste) and mochi (rice cake).  Absolutely delicious, and unfortunately, not available in Canada.  I think this one came from Osaka.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yoshoku-Ya Restaurant

Japanese family-style restaurants are virtually non-existant in Canada, with only a few of them scattered around town (BareFoot Kitchen is one other that I know about).  There are chain restaurants in Japan like Royal Host, Gusto, and Tomato Onion, but so far, none of those chains have made their way across the Pacific.  Vancouver's got loads of sushi restaurants, a growing number of izakayas, and now a surge of ramen shops.  The family restaurant is next on the list. 
Yoshoku-ya looks like they took over a fish and chips place or something, but the decor seems very fitting.  The restaurant is pretty quiet, with the occasional music from the Ghibli Collection.  The restaurant is clean, and so are the washrooms, as expected with most Japanese run restaurants.  It seems this little gem has yet to be discovered, because although business seems to be good and steady, there are no line-ups out of the door evertime I go....which is great for me.  At the same time I hope that business stays good enough for the owners to keep it running, I hope that it never gets to a point where the line ups get huge and unbearable.
The Ebi-fry (deep-fried prawn) meal.
The ebi-fry meal comes with rice, which interestingly enough is served in a plate.  Family restaurants serve their meals in plates (along with forks and knives) to mimic western styles.  Anyway, the meal comes with a scoop of potato salad, which is pretty light and doesn't leave your head swimming in mayonaise.  It also comes with house salad which consists of lettuce, a tomato wedge, some thin-sliced cucumber, and the house dressing, which is one killer take on Thousand Island.  Awesome dressing, I could go back just for the salad....and I usually hate salad.
I normally order the kaki-fry, deep fried oysters, which pretty much comes with everything the ebi-fry comes with, plus Japanese tartar sauce (the difference is they add egg....which pretty much tastes like a really creamy egg salad).  I used to only eat deep-fried oysters with tartar sauce or Kewpie Mayo, but recently have discovered how great it tastes with a squirt of lemon, and some Bulldog sauce to go with the Japanese tartar sauce. 
The portions here don't look like much, but trust me when I say you WILL be full by the end of the meal.  It is filling and relatively inexpensive ($10-15) considering what you get.  The service here is excellent, the location is okay, there's always parking within walking distance, and like I said earlier, it's never crowded....for now.  Kintaro Ramen is a few shops away, and is always drawing a crowd (for whatever reason, I have no idea....not a big fan of Kintaro Ramen, but it draws a lot of lemmings.....maybe because it's so "trendy"?).  Yoshku-Ya, no crowds, which suits me just fine. 

Defintely a great place to grab a bite to eat, I always look forward to going back to try something different, but I never do, I always end up ordering the kaki-fry.  The corn soup is awesome by the way, but I never have room for it.

Yoshoku-Ya on Urbanspoon

Yan's Garden Chinese Restaurant

If you like cheap and tasty dim sum, Yan's Garden is the place to go.  If you like shrimp, it will be a bonus.  It's a bit far for me (North Road and Lougheed Hwy), but once in a while, I'll make a trek out to Burnaby and have Dim Sum here.  The place expanded a year or so ago, and has way better seating capacity.
Deep fried squid with seasoning salt - one of my favourites.  They cook it just right unlike some other places where it comes out rubbery.
Seafood wrapped in tofu skin.  Often times it's ground pork, but this place used fish paste and other bits of seafood.
Siu Mai - packed with prawns. 
BBQ Pork wrapped in a fluffy pastry
Prawn Spring Rolls
Shao Long Bao,(siu long bao) or steamed pork dumplings
Prawns and scallops wrapped in tofu skin
Hagow - Steamed Prawn Dumplings
Sesame balls with black sesame filling
The filling in these ones were out of this world.  Defintely worth another try.
Egg Tarts
Tapioca Pudding
More of those sesame balls, these ones were much larger and probably didn't have a filling.

Yan's Garden has pretty quick service, not particularly friendly, but not nearly as bad as other's such as Angel Cake Cafe, and since the expansion, the wait times are generally pretty short to non existant.  Actually, we had one server who gave us exceptionally awesome service.  I tried to get a picture of her, but she refused.  Anyway the food is great and the prices are even better.  Like most other Chinese restaurants though, the washroom is filthy and minging, and you probably want to hold it until after you leave, or bring your own Purell. 

If you can get it in your head that this place simply does not have a washroom, check this place's worth it for the food.

Yan's Garden on Urbanspoon

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