Monday, December 26, 2011

New Camera - Olympus PEN E-PL2

As most of you have seen in the last pile of posts, most of the pictures were taken by my HTC Desire cell phone cam.  The reason for that is my Nikon P100 died on me after about a year of use.
A majority of the controls on the panel right of the display screen began to fail and eventually stopped working all together.  Anyway, the camera had a two-year warrantee on it so I brought it in to the local Nikon Service Centre in Richmond, and got some brutal customer service from someone who obviously had no experience in customer service.  The original esimates for repairs were a few weeks......a few weeks passed and I heard nothing.  I called in and they told me that they were waiting for parts and it may be another week or so.  I called a week later, and nobody answered, nobody returned my message.  I called another week later and called again, and again, nobody replied my messages.  Finally, I called Nikon Canada in Ontario and they got back to me.  I was told that my camera was not to be repaired, and that my camera sufferend moisture damage.  Snce the camera was no longer in production, parts were no longer available and the best they could do for me was sell me a Nikon P500 for $230.  Personally, I don't think this was really fair, but what else could I do?  I could take my broken P100 back and let it collect dust as a paperweight, or I could pay $230 (Retail at London Drugs - $299 CAD) and get a new camera.  I think I paid $329 for the P100. 

Anyway, this was a less-than-stellar result that I expected from Nikon, but what else could I do?  I took it, hook, line and sinker and brought home a Nikon P500 that's still sitting in the box it came in, barely touched.  I guess I'll pull it out one of these days and play with it, but for now, I got this awesome Olympus E-PL2!  Sorry Nikon!

Actually, I can't take any credit for going out to buy this awesome camera myself, since I know absolutely nothing about cameras, let alone good ones, but after using this Olympus for a while, I really, really like it, and I have my friend Eric, AKA Fatman to thank for it.  A few months ago, just around the time my P100 died, Eric's buddy and fellow foodie Mark was visiting Canada from the Philippines.  Eric told me that he wanted me to meet up with his friend and show him some of the local eateries.  Also, Mark was carrying an early birthday present for me from Eric.  Holy crap.  Anyway, here are some shots of my new camera....I took these pictures with my P500, but for the next few posts, the pictures were mostly shot with my new Olympus E-PL2 :)

This is a Japanese commercial for this camera.  I really liked the case seen in this promotional video, however, this exact case is not sold by Olympus.  This was a custom one-off made for the commercials.  I contacted Olypus Japan about it and they referred me to the company that made this case, and it turns out they can reproduce it for me for a mere 60,000 yen for the case, and another 20,000 yen for the of about 80,000, which works out to about $1,047 and change.  Er.....I'll pass.

Anyway, the camera is a Micro Four Thirds, whatever that means, and it's possible to swap out the lenses, but I am not into that realm of expertise when it comes to least not yet.  I'll wait till I see my pal Eric and maybe he can show me how to take better pictures with my camera.  He's got one too and swears by it.  And so far, so do I.  Thanks again Eric for the incredible birthday present!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ramen Jinya

I think this might be the last of my posts using my HTC Desire phone cam.  After this, I started shooting with a new toy I might just do a post about.  Anyway, I heard about this place through the grape vine while talking about ramen with someone.  They mentioned this place called Jinya opened up and I had to try it.  I assured them that Nan Chu Izakaya had the best ramen in town, however they suggested I try this because I'd be in for a surprise.

I orderd my usual - miso chashu ramen, and to my surprise, it was actually really, really good. 

Just look at that chashu....amazing how much fat there is!  I wonder if the owner or chef of this place was listening to me moan about how healthy, but boring ramen was in Vancouver (with the exception of Minoru-san's ramen, haha!).

Gyoza was really good too....loaded with garlic.
Anyway, back to the ramen.  It came in a huge bowl, surpisingly, there wasn't all that much broth.  It was very, very rich, so thick you could walk across it.  It was also nice and salty, just the way I like it.  And the staff can read your mind because they've got a nice cold glass of water waiting for you.  By the time I finished, I was screaming for the water, haha!  The chashu had to have been the fattest I've ever seen so far.  I mean, just look at the picture, and most of the chashu is white!  It gets nice and melty after it sits in the broth for a bit. 

Despite some serious health concerns, this place makes a mean bowl of ramen.  The service was quick and friendly, the food comes quick, and I've never had to wait in line to get in.  It's also inexpensive.  In my opinion, this place is light-years ahead of the likes of Kintaro or that other trendy place downtown....Santouka?  Anyway, when they said this place could give Minoru-san's ramen a run for his money, they weren't kidding.  I would not say it's better or worse, but either way, it's a damn close call.  Would I go back?  Haha, that goes without saying. 

One thing weird about this place though....I saw someone get ramen for take-out.  WTF?  I have never in my life seen anyone get ramen for takeout before, but apparently some weird people out there like to come to a ramen shop, and have it to go.  To each their own I guess, but ramen is not something I'd go buy at a restaurant just to take it home or back to work to eat.  I'd just slurp it down in the shop, or make it myself at home....oh well. 

Ramen Jinya on Urbanspoon

The One Cafe - yes, another "The One"

Food court quality in a restaurant wrapper.  I heard the owners of this place used to operate a shop in the food court of Parker Place, but I'm not 100% sure on that.  This place is called The One Cafe, not to be confused with another restaurant with an equally stupid name called The One Chinese Restaurant.  Sadly, neither of these restaurants are the one for me.

The milk tea was a little bland and watered down when I went.  I guess I've been spoiled on the milk tea from places like Alleluia.
My mom loves this one - salty fish fried rice. The salty fish was in abundance, but the lack of quality control really shines with this dish, along with the rice. 
A chunk of the the lettuce core. was found on the side.  It was the first time I'd seen a chunk this big....figured any chef that cared about plating would have probably not left this in the prep.  Maybe he thinks he's still working in the food court.  Other than the lettuce chunk, the fried rice was alright. 
Lots of meat, but not much flavour here.  And barely any green onions to speak of. 

I tried their baked seafood on rice, and it wasn't too bad, but on a comparison scale, even Happy Date can do this dish better.

The service was about on par with any shop you can see at Parker Place food court, and the prices are slightly inflated over the food court, but that's to be expected.  Besides the collosally stupid name, the place was okay, passable at best.  Would I go back?  Mmmm...probably not, especially when Alleluia is only a few minutes away.

The One Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cilantro & Jalapeno

I almost forgot I had this review to comeplete, that's how memorable this place was.  When I tried George's moussaka, we also grabbed a taco salad from Cilantro and Jalepeno and I have to say there was nothing there that really stands out in my mind that makes me want to go back and get another.

I'd say the taco salad here was okay, probably not better than La Tortilleria on Granville Island.  I'd give this place a pass the next time and save my money for George's

Cilantro & Jalapeno on Urbanspoon

Deer Garden Signatures 鹿園魚湯米線

  I was at my other job a month or so ago and for some reason, lunch was not provided so we all went out to graba  bite to eat.  Some of my colleagues suggested this and tasty, and it was just that.  The service was a bit slow, but probably because the place was packed and there was a small line up just to get in to the place.

I've only had laksa a few times and I wasn't really a big fan of it, until I came to Deer Garden.  It's a noodle soup with a sort of curry base to it.  It tasted almost creamy, and maybe that can be attributed to the coconut milk used in the curry maybe? 

Anyway, I really liked this dish and I've always wanted to go back.  The laksa is a good reason for me to go back, the only bit of trouble I had was that it didn't taste all that spicy going in....coming out was another story.

*pics taken with my phone cam

Deer Garden Signatures 鹿園魚湯米線 on Urbanspoon

Ikea Restaurant & Cafe (Richmond)

When I did Fresh Slice, I thought I had sunk to an all-time low for food-blogging, but here it is, proof that you can degenerate your standards if you just put in the effort.

Surprisingly good meatballs, really good bang for your buck dollars.  Mine came with mashed potatos which were nice and fluffy, and some veg that I couldn't easily identify....are those yellow things carrots?  Anyway, Swedish can't go wrong, especially for the price!

*Obviously these pics were taken with my phone cam - HTC Desire

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Lin Chinese Cuisine 林餐館

On Broadway near Granville there's this place called Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House.  I never thought to ever go in there because parking is kind of a pain, but lately, I've been using a lot of public transit and the bus happened to take me by this place.  I found the place full of local office types, and commuters like myself. 
The XLB were tiny, bite-size flavour bombs full of the juicy fat soup.  They were small, but good.  Pricewise is something you'd expect in comnination with the location as well as the quality, in other words fair. 

The shredded pork was very, very greasy - after wiping your mouth with a napkin, you could probably transfer the residual oil to a wall and make it transparent (just like in Simpsons).  It was good though, haha, but you really need a huge bowl of white rice to go with it.

The green onion pancake was crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, cooked well, but a bit bland. 

The Shen Jian Bao had rispy bottoms, and were pretty juicy inside.  Almost bite-size, you could stuff one of these in your mouth, but I wouldn't recommend that if you're with someone. 

The service here was quick and friendly enough, and the restaurant wasn't too bad for cleanliness.  Would I go back?  I already have, haha!

*Pictures taken with my HTC Desire

Lin Chinese Cuisine 林餐館 on Urbanspoon

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