Monday, May 30, 2011

Salmon House on the Hill

It's been years since I 've been to Salmon House on the Hill and what drew me back to drive all the way to West Vancouver was a coupon, haha!  I'm so cheap.  Anyway, Salmon House had a Steak and Lobster Tail Combo as a May special that usually goes for $32 but with a downloadable coupon, it was $19.95.  There's something slightly embarrassing about using a coupon at a high-end place, but I figured, what the hell, I'm not that proud.

We got there around 7ish and the sun was still up so we got to see pretty much all of Vancouver. I'd imagine that the night view should be spectacular. Our server seemed pretty professional, not intrusive at all. He brought our drinks: Strawberry Virgin Marguarita (which didn't taste very virgin to me) and my drink - Chivas Regal, 12 yrs, single on ice. Since I was driving, I nursed it all the way through my meal.

The complimentary bread was fairly regular, but the butter it came with wasn't really butter. It was slightly darker, so I thought maybe it was garlic butter, but it turned out to be something else. I have no idea what it was. The texture was like dough or some sort of paste...not a whole lot of flavour, but we ate it all anyway!

We were pretty hungry so we scarfed down the bread pretty quickly. Our Salmon House Sampler ($18) followed soon after, and I have to tell you, I was a little disappointed with the portions. For the price, I figured it may have been enough for two, but I probably could have had two orders just for myself.
The smoked salmon wrapped scallop was done perfectly, not to rubbery and also managed to absorb a good amount of flavour from the smoked salmon but still retaining it's own natural flavour. The sampler was good overall, but I'm not sure if it was worth $18.
The prawn and salmon spring roll was pretty good, but as some of you may know, I'm not a big fan of this new fushion thing.  If I wanted to eat prawn spring rolls, I'd go have dim sum.  That being said, they tasted good. 
The smoked oysters themselves were good, but sat on a bed of green beans that didn't agree with me.  To me, and this is going to sound really uncultured, it tasted like B.O.  But like I said, I did like the smoked oysters. 
We both got the steak and lobster dinner. As usual, I ordered my steak as fat and bloody as possible. When our entrees arrived, the server knew exactly what I wanted - blue rare. It came out perfectly and the other one came out exactly to order as well - medium rare. Both steaks came out as ordered, however, it seemed one of them got all the seasoning. The medium rare one was a bit on the salty side, and my blue rare was a little bland. I guess I probably shouldn't eat so much salt anyway and just enjoy the natural flavour of the beef.....but fat tastes so good with salt! The mashed potato and the veg tasted incredible on both plates, and the lobster, surprisingly was actaully quite good, depsite it being of the readily availablble, frozen lobster tails similar to the ones available at M & M. I'm glad I paid $19.95 because it was a pretty decent meal for $19.95, but I would have felt a bit unahppy had I paid the full $32.

Medium Rare - cooked to perfect as requested.

Blue rare - fat and bloody, just the way I like it.  One of the few times I actually got it exactly as I asked.
The Orange and Maple Creme Brulee came to $9 and I enjoyed it a lot.  The top layer was caramalized nice and thick (some may not like this), the fruits were fresh and didn't contrast the creme brulee too strongly. 

I liked the coconut macaroons, but they were served on the side, and that's exactly what they were, on the side and unecessary.  Tasty. but unecessary.  

Overall, I was pretty happy with my experience with Salmon House on the Hill.  The food was of good quality and excellent presentation, despite my grumblings about various things.  Part of the hefty bill goes towards a pretty nice view and overall good service.  It wasn't on par wtih say Tea House or Joe Fortes in terms of service, but still pretty good.  Would I go back?  Probably.  There were a couple of other menu items I wouldn't mind trying!

Salmon House on the Hill on Urbanspoon

A and W Lansdowne

I was reading Gavin's post over at  Good Eat and was tempted to the dark side by him.  He mentioned there was this awesome new burger called the Grandma Prime Rib Burger over at A and W.  I was skeptical, but curious because he mentioned Prime Rib and Horseradish sauce.

The onion rings had loads of coating, and managed to stay crispy. These were essentially the filler where the burger came up short.
The horseradish sauce was the only thing new to fast food that I noticed. It was a good addition, and adds a sense of class to fast food. Good on A and W to do this.

The onions were large and greasy, like eating a whole onion that had been sitting in oil for too long.

As you can tell by my thumb, the burger is tiny.

The patty was moist and tasty - basically the same as the Prime Rib patties you can get at Costco, except a tad smaller.  The bun was cheap and fell apart.  I think if A and W wanted to make a spectacular burger, they should have at least gotten better buns, but that would probably drive the price up and people would end up either going to a real burger place or other fast food places. 

Overall this new Grandma burger was small....tiny in fact, but once you stuff yourself with the onion rings and a medium soft drink, the meal itself can be filling.  For $3.99 you get the burger only, and $6.99 gets you the combo.  For $7, I think I can find a better meal at some HK Cafe.  $4 just for the burger isn't too bad I suppose, but it really is tiny for $4.00  Not too sure if I'd get another.

A&W (Lansdowne Centre) on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 13, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, the cherry blossoms were in bloom.  It was pretty much raining during the entire length of the bloom except for one particular weekend where it cleared up and not a single cloud was in the sky.  Hanami literally means flower viewing and in Japan, it can be a pretty big thing.  Families, friends, co-workers all gather under the cherry trees and have sort of a picnic.  Haha, I've heard stories of junior sarariman (salary men) holding spots for hours until their seniors arrive.  It's kind of hard to do on this side of the water because it rains so much, but this one day, me and a few fellow iaidoka got lucky.

The trees in Queen Elizabeth Park were probably the last ones to bloom in Vancouver, and although they look pretty pink in the pictures, they were starting to fall and the leaves were just starting to come out. 
We had an assortment of typical Japanese picnic food like onigiri, pickles, karage, beef skewers, fruits, tako weiner and a bunch of other stuff.
Sake cups

I know this is a food blog, and there's not a whole lot of food in this post, but I figured it's a nice change.  Besides, with all the gloomy weather we've had all winter, it's nice to see some blue skies accented with pink sakura.

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