Jiu Jiang Japanese Restaurant

Sushi is just one of the things that everyone loves that I just can’t stand. I don’t like the taste of raw fish at all, and while I do enjoy California rolls, unfortunately I have discovered that I’m allergic to avocadoes (and avocado rolls without avocado isn’t really worth it imho). Fortunately, there’s still a good menu of other food at Japanese restaurants that I do like and can still enjoy: teriyaki, karaage, takoyaki, ramen, etc. Lately, I’ve been craving for some fried Japanese fare, and decided to check out Jiu Jiang. They are a small but tidy Japanese (although the name is Chinese, and at least a few of the staff speak Mandarin) shop located in Kerrisdale, near 41st Avenue. They have a pretty good menu consisting of popular Japanese dishes, both cooked and sushi/sashimi. I had their Takoyaki, Chicken Karaage, and Chicken Teriyaki & Egg Fried Rice.

Takoyaki ($5.25):

dav
Close up of Takoyaki

3.5/5
The takoyaki had a crispy exterior and was soft and creamy on the inside. I didn’t really get that much ocotopus inside, but that was fine since I don’t really care that much for octopus.

Chicken Karaage ($7.25):

dav
Close up of Chicken Karaage

4/5
This was actually more similar to the Taiwanese-style chicken vs. the Japanese style. I was quite impressed by the chicken: the pieces were large, tender and juicy. It was well-seasoned and flavourful, and had a great crispy exterior.

Chicken Teriyaki & Egg Fried Rice ($10.95):


3.5/5
This consisted of fried rice that’s topped with chicken teriyaki. I was a bit disappointed by the chicken to be honest: I found it to be a little anemic and lacking in grilled flavour, and also lacking in teriyaki sauce, although the meat was still seasoned. I really enjoyed their fried rice however, which was very well cooked and well-seasoned/flavourful. It came with a bowl of miso soup, which was just standard.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Jiu Jiang. Their food was tasty and very reasonably priced. The service, while not the most personable, was quite attentive and polite. I’d definitely recommend checking this spot out, even if you’re a weirdo like me that doesn’t like sushi.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicken Karaage, Egg Fried Rice
Jiu Jiang Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BBT Cafe

I’ve finally watched There Will Be Blood (starring Daniel Day Lewis) this weekend. Yes, I know that the movie came out like ten years ago, but I was young(er) back then and wasn’t interested in watching some 2.5 hour period drama that looks slow and boring as hell (truth is, I still am not). But recently, while looking through someone’s list of the best movie endings of the 21st century, the aforementioned movie came up on number one. Out of curiosity, I decided to search the scene up on Youtube and…decided that I should watch the entire movie just so that I can understand wtf happened. It did drag a bit for sure, but DDL was awesome (and that mustache too). And I never thought that that “milkshake” could be used menacingly, but seriously, that was like a Hannibal “I ate his liver” moment, complete with the creepass slurping he made.

Sadly, I can’t enjoy real milkshakes anymore, not unless I want to have a massive stomachache later. Strangely (and fortunately) though, I’m still able to enjoy most other foods and drinks that contain dairy, including bubble tea. I decided to get myself one of those during my visit to BBT Cafe this week. The latter is a Chinese/Taiwainese shop in Kerrisdale that serves the aforementioned bubble tea (and other drinks) and a variety of popular Asian snacks and meals. In addition to getting a Fresh Taro Bubble Tea (with pearls), I had their Pork Dumplings and Chicken Nuggets.

Pork Dumplings ($8.95):


3.5/5
This came with ten boiled dumplings. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dumplings were actually pretty juicy (similar to xiao long bao). The ground pork was also quite tender, although I could have done with a touch more salt.

Chicken Nuggets ($5.95 on Mondays, $8.95 regular):


3.5/5
This is on special on Monday. The pieces of chicken were quite meaty and juicy and well seasoned, with a salty and slightly peppery flavour. I would have liked it to be a bit more crispy.

Fresh Taro Bubble Tea ($6):

dav
Fresh Taro Bubble Tea

4/5
The bubble tea was thick and creamy, and not overly sweet. I was very pleased to find that it wasn’t at all icy (i.e. you can drink the whole thing without the bottom part turning into a block of ice). The pearls had a nice chewy texture.

So There Will Be Blood is a bit of a slow burn with a few threads/plot lines that I personally could have done without, but DDL is entertaining, and the ending/payoff is seriously fantastic. As for BBT Cafe, I did quite enjoy their food, in particular their bubble tea. Unfortunately, I did find the price for their drinks to be a bit expensive: the are generally around $5-$5.5 plus an additional $0.5 if you want pearls (which you do since it’s not bubble tea without pearls); the prices for their food, however, are very reasonable. The service was pretty minimal, but the staff was friendly (and they speak Mandarin, so I didn’t look stupid). All in all, I’d recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicken Nuggets, Fresh Taro Bubble Tea
BBT Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro – Kerrisdale

What is a baoguette? That was the question that I wanted to find the answer to when I visited Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro. They are a Vietnamese joint located in Kerrisdale on 41st Avenue (they have an additional place in Denman). They serve up a menu consisting of the usual popular Vietnamese food: banh mi, pho, and rice/vermicelli dishes. Unfortunately, to my great disappointment, I realised that their “baoguettes” were just regular baguettes/banh mi. Oh well. I ended up getting their house Special Baoguette and Com Cari Ga (with rice) instead.

Com Cari Ga with Rice ($10):


3.5/5
This was served with either a baguette or rice, I had the rice. The curry was very fragrant and had a nice bit of heat. I did find it to be lacking a bit of seasoning/salt however. There were four generous pieces of chicken, which were tender and juicy (by virtue of being dark meat); I did find it to be also a bit lacking in salt as well. The portion was quite generous for the price.

House Special Baoguette ($5.95):


4/5
This contained ham, cold cuts and pickled vegetables. The bread had a nice crispy texture on the outside while being soft and fluffy on the inside. The filling was very flavourful. I was surprised to find that it had quite a sweet flavour; it was a bit jarring at first, but it did grow on me.

I was a bit disappointed not to have gotten to try an actual baoguette. However, the food at Baoguette was still fairly good, with more than reasonable prices. The service was pretty minimal, and the staff weren’t really warm or attentive, although they weren’t mean or rude either. All in all, while I did enjoy my visit, I do think that there are much better joints available.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 2/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: House Special Baoguette
Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bufala

I’ve really grown a greater appreciation for cheese over the number of years that I’ve been living in Canada. One cheese that I’ve heard quite a bit about but never had the opportunity to sample is burrata. That finally changed during my recent visit to Bufala. They are a pizza joint located on Blvd in Kerrisdale, just a couple of blocks away from 41st Avenue. They specializes in thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas, and also serve classic Italian appetizers and drinks. While I initially wanted their Meatballs, I really wanted to sample the Burrata, and ended up ordering that instead. I also had their Carbonara Pizza.

Burrata ($19):


3.5/5
This was served with roasted acorn squash and toasted sourdough. This is the first time that I’ve had burrata, so I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like. The cheese was quite creamy, although a bit bland. The squash was tender and sweet; I do wish that they could have cut it into smaller pieces however as it was a bit hard to eat with the bread. I really enjoyed the bread, which was nicely toasted.

Carbonara Pizza ($19):


4/5
This came topped with pecorino, pancetta, and an egg. The crust was nice and crispy, and not bland. Although there didn’t look like there was much topping, it was actually very flavourful. It wa a bit on the salty side: I actually quite enjoyed it, but I think that it might be a bit too much for others.

While the burrata at Bufala wasn’t mindblowing, I’m very glad to have been finally able to sample it. I also really enjoyed their pies, which are some of the better ones that I’ve had, although I do think that some people might find the toppings to be a bit too salty. Service-wise, the food was prepared relatively quickly and the staff are friendly, but not overly attentive. All in all, I do consider this to be one of the better pizza joints that I’ve tried, and I’d recommend visiting if you like Neapolitan-style pies.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Carbonara Pizza
Bufala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Michele Cake Shop

I’m not the biggest fan of Asian/Chinese-style cakes. I often find them to be just too dry and bland. However, it seems that a lot of Asian bakeries have been stepping up their game in the cake department. I’ve quite enjoyed the desserts that I tried at Marui Bakery. More recently, my visit to Michele Cake Shop has further improved my perception of Asian cakes. The latter is a Chinese/Asian-style bakery in Kerrisdale that make a good selection of cakes, as well as buns and pastries. For my visit, I stuck to just their sweets, and got their Tiramisu, Michele Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, and Portuguese Tart.

Portuguese Tart ($1.75):


4/5
This is similar to a regular egg tart, except that the top is bruleed/caramelized. The crust was a bit bland, but quite tender and flaky. I quite liked the egg custard, which was smooth, mildly sweet, and had a pleasant eggy fragrance. I actually prefer this over the ones from Marui as it is a bit more flavourful (without being overly sweet).

Tiramisu ($3.99):


4.5/5
This consisted of layers of coffee sponge cake sandwiching coffee mousse. This is a fantastic rendition of the dessert. The cake was soft and light while the mousse was smooth and airy, with a wonderful bitter-sweet flavour. The cake also had a fantastic fragrance of coffee liquor.

Michele Cheesecake ($3.50):


4.5/5
This consisted of a layer of fluffier, Asian-style cheesecake on top of another layer of denser, more Western-style cheesecake. The top layer was light and fluffy with a nice citrusy fragrance, while the bottom was richer, creamier, and had a wonderful tang. This is seriously the best of both worlds.

Chocolate Cake ($2.75):


3.5/5
This was made up of layers of chocolate sponge cake and chocolate cream, and decorated with a small cream puff. Again, the cake was very fluffy and light. I personally found the chocolate/cocoa flavour to be a bit too weak. I also didn’t really care for the cream puff, which was bland and had a slightly oily texture, although it was quite a nice decoration.

I had managed expectations for the desserts at Michele Cake Shop and I must say, I was quite blown away by how tasty some of their cakes were. The prices are a bit on the higher side for an Asian-style bakery, but I think it’s quite reasonable given the quality of their desserts. Whether you like Asian-style sweets or not, I highly recommend giving this place a try.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Tiramisu, Michele Cheesecake, Portuguese Tart
Michele Cake Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vivo Deli

Potatoes are easily my favourite vegetable. You seriously can’t go wrong with them. Whether you fry them, bake them, roast them, boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew (LOTR’s one of my favourite movies fyi), they always taste fantastic. Heck, I even like potato salads. Considering my tremendous fondness for potatoes and all its different incarnations, it is a bit strange that I have never heard of knishes until recently. For those of you who don’t know, a knish is a Jewish dish consisting of a pastry that’s filled with mashed potatoes. It sounded amazing to a potato head like me, so I just had to try one (or, more accurately several) for myself. The only place in Vancouver that I could find serving this dish was Vivo Deli. They are a small shop located in Kerrisdale, right beside London Drugs. They offer several different varieties of knishes. I got a Chicken Mushroom, a BBQ Beef, and a Smoked Beef.

Chicken Mushroom Knish ($3.00):


4/5
This consisted of a pastry that’s filled with mashed potatoes, chicken, mushrooms, and fried onion. The pastry was soft and flaky while the potatoes were smooth and very well-seasoned and flavourful. I did find them to be just a bit stingy with the filling; however, the pieces of chicken that was present were tender and flavourful.

Smoked Beef Knish ($3.00):


4/5
This was similar to the chicken mushroom knish, except it contained smoked beef, egg, cheese, and fried onion. Again, I do wish that there was more meat and cheese mixed into the mashed potato. The small pieces of beef that were present was quite tender, and had a nice salty flavour. I could not detect any egg or onion however.

BBQ Beef Knish ($3.00):
N/A
I didn’t actually eat this myself: I gave it to my mom. It was completely, purely out of selfless, altruistic reasons, and definitely NOT because I was seriously stuffed from gorging myself on large heros and pizzas over the last few days. Anyways, she really enjoyed it, even though she did complain a bit about the beef being a bit “spicy” (she’s a whimp who can’t handle any heat).

I’ve really wanted to try a knish, and my visit to Vivo Deli has finally fulfilled my wish. Their prices are relatively reasonable: currently the knishes are going for $3 each (plus tax), but they do offer discounts when you buy multiple (I saved 50 cents by buying 3). They also offer bags of frozen knishes to take home. Be sure to check this place out if you happen to be in the area and are looking for a snack or lunch.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Knishes (whichever flavour you prefer)
Vivo at the Fair Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Cuisson

I don’t usually buy drinks. And no, I’m not just referring to alcohol (I seriously cannot stand the taste of alcohol), but also coffee/tea/other liquids in general. It’s not that I don’t like drinks (I do enjoy a good latte/milkshake/frap); I just prefer to save my money and stomach for poutine/pasta/cakes/fried chicken/a thousand other solids that I love. Hence, when I visited La Cuisson this week, it wasn’t for any of their drinks but rather their desserts. They are one of several tea rooms in Kerrisdale and has, in addition to quite an extensive menu of tea/coffee/fancy drinks, a selection of cakes and other sweets made in the Asian-style. I got their Mango Mousse, Matcha Redbean Mousse and Royal Chocolate Cake.

Mango Mousse ($6.25):


4/5
This consisted of a thin layer of cake topped with mango mousse and pieces of mango. The mousse was light and had a wonderful, fresh tang that’s similar to that of a lemon tart. The mango flavour was strong without being artificial.

Matcha Redbean Mousse ($6.25):


3.5/5
This consisted of a thin layer of sponge cake topped with matcha mousse that is studded with pieces of sweetened red beans. The mousse again was very light and only mildly sweet. I did find the matcha flavour to be a bit too subtle and hard to detect.

Royal Chocolate Cake ($6.25):


4.5/5
This consisted of a layer of crispy wafer and a thin layer of cake topped with chocoalte mousse. Similar to the other desserts, the mousse was quite light but had a nice bittersweet flavour. I absolutely adored the wafer crust, which was sweet and had a fantastic crispy texture.

While I haven’t tried any of the drinks at La Cuisson, their pastries are quite well-made and ideal for those who don’t like overly-sweet desserts. Personally, I do find the prices for their pastries to be a bit on the higher side. Otherwise, this seems to be a pretty decent option for some drinks and lighter desserts.

Summary
Food: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Mango Mousse, Royal Chocolate Cake
La Cuisson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

41 Noodle & Rice Pot House

After getting a bit of a stomachache from stuffing myself earlier this week, I’ve been trying to eat a bit lighter (don’t worry, this phase is definitely not going to last). As such, I decided to check out 41 Noodle & Rice Pot today, which has apparently replaced Bubble Waffle Cafe. They have a good selection of Asian/HK style food, including noodles, soups, rice and snacks. I decided to get their Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets w/Rice (because yes, I do consider chicken nuggets to be “light).

Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets w/ Rice ($12.00):

dav
Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets w/ Rice


3.5/5
The set came with chicken nuggets, rice, and some bok choy. On the menu it states that the dish is supposed to come with soup, but it appears that they have forgotten to bring mine as I didn’t receive any. I didn’t mind though since I don’t really care that much for soup anyways. There was a decent amount of chicken nuggets, which had a nice, light and crispy batter. It was not particularly meaty however, with the pieces being more batter than meat. It was also quite salty; when eaten together with the rice, it was quite good, but it would probably be a bit too salty if eaten alone as a snack.

On a return visit, I decided to get one of their Rice Pots. I picked the one with Pork Belly & Salted Duck Egg.

Rice Pot w/ Pork Belly & Salted Duck Egg ($11.75):

dav
Rice Pot w/ Pork Belly & Salted Duck Egg

4/5

Soup:


On this occasion I did actually receive my soup, which consisted of a pork bone broth with two large pieces of daikon. It tasted fine, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed out much when I didn’t receive it during the last time.

Rice Pot:


The rice pot was topped with thin slices of steamed pork belly and half a salted duck egg. Now, the pork belly wasn’t what I had expected it to be; being Shanghainese I was imagining large, thick pieces of fatty pork with skin that’s been braised in soy sauce. Instead, I received thin, skinless slices of steamed pork belly. Expectations aside however, the meat was still quite tasty, albeit a tad tough and chewy; I do wish that there was a bit more of it however (I’m a complete carnivore/meatatarian). The duck egg was very salty (as it is supposed to be), with a lovely, oily yolk. The rice on the edges were nicely toasted, and had a wonderful crispy texture, and tasted fantastic when mixed in with some of their sweet soy sauce that they have on their table.

Although my current attempt at eating slightly lighter meals is certianly not going to last long, I’ve quite enjoyed my visits to 41 Noodle & Rice Pot House. Their prices are reasonable, and the service is quite efficient with friendly staff members (who fortunately do speak Mandarin in additition to Cantonese so I don’t end up looking stupid and dumb when they try to talk to me in Chinese). Overall, this is a pretty good place for some casual HK food.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Rice Pots
41 Noodle & Rice Pot House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Deer Island Bakery

After absolutely gorging myself at Dosa Factory the day before, I ended up waking the next day with a bit of a stomachache. It was one of the rare occasions where I actually didn’t want something greasy and heavy *gasp*. I decided to go to Deer Island Bakery, a Chinese-style bakery in Kerrisdale to get lunch. Although the shop is quite small, they have quite a large selection of baked goods. I picked up a Pineapple with B.B.Q. Pork Bun, a Pork Sung Roll, and a Chicken Pineapple Pie because yes, I consider three fair-sized buns to be a “light” meal.

 

Pineapple with B.B.Q. Pork Bun ($1.95):


3/5
The bun itself seemed quite fresh, and had a nice fluffy texture as well as a crispy, sweet top. The bbq pork filling had a nice sweet flavour (without being overwhelming so) and was quite tender. Unfortunately, I found them to be quite stingy with the filling and only about 1/4-1/3 of the bun contained filling.

Pork Sung Roll ($1.95):


3.5/5
This consisted of a folded bun sandwiching a filling of mayonnaise and pork floss. Once again the bun was soft and fluffy. The mayonnaise had a great creaminess that paired well with the savoury flavour from the pork floss.

Chicken Pineapple Pie ($1.60):


3.5/5
The pie contained chicken, some corn, and pieces of pineapple. I personally didn’t really care too much for the pineapple; they didn’t really bother me, but they didn’t add anything either. There was a pretty decent amount of chicken, which was quite tender. I quite liked the crust, which was tender and had a nice sweetness.

Based off of my relatively small sampling, I’ll say that while I wasn’t blown away by Deer Island Bakery, I didn’t find their food to be bad either. The prices are fair and in line with what you’d expect from Asian bakeries. While I do prefer other places like Maxim’s, this still isn’t a bad place to grab a few Chinese-style treats.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: N/A
Deer Island Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bean Brothers

I’ve been having a serious carving for tiramisu after the fanstic one that I’ve tried at Raviolino. After hearing that Bean Brothers, a cafe in Kerrisdale, offers this delectable treat, I decided to immediately check the place out. Unfortunately, as my luck would have it, they didn’t have any available when I visited. *sigh*. They did have some other baked goods however, and I decided to settle for a Carrot Cake. Now, I’m generally not crazy about muffins – they’re okay but nothing that I’d necessarily crave for – but I’ve heard that the ones at Bean Brothers are apparently fantastic, so I ended up getting a Banana Chocolate Muffin.

hdr
No tiramisu available 😦

Banana Chocolate Muffin ($3.20):


4/5
First of all, I was REALLY happy to see that the muffin had a large top, which in my (and Seinfield’s) opinion is the best part of the muffin. The muffin itself was delicious and among one of the best that I’ve ever had: soft, moist, and mildly sweet. Unfortunately, I did find the banana flavour to be a little too subtle, and I would have liked more chocolate (practically all of the chocolate chips were clustered to the very top with very few in the rest of the muffin).

Carrot Cake ($3.95):


3.5/5
The cake was very moist, chock-full of shredded carrots and raisins, and had a nice bit of spice. The cream cheese frosting was studded with walnuts and quite sweet – I didn’t mind the sweetness, but I think that there are others with lower sugar tolerance who’d might find it off-putting. I did find that the cake had a subtle aftertaste that I think might be baking soda.

Although I was very disappointed that I did not get my beloved tiramisu, I must say that I’m quite glad to have tried one of their muffins; they are seriously, surprisingly tasty and should not be overlooked!  If you happen to be in the area and need a quick bite/treat, I’d recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Muffins
Bean Brothers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato