Category Archives: Places

Australia!

I’m about to head off to Australia for 3 weeks! I’ve been wanting to go for ages, so it’s pretty exciting to have this trip crossed off on my bucket list. If you’d like to follow along, I’ve created a travel blog here.

One thing I learned while researching about the place is how crazy expensive food is. Fish and chips can set you back $19 and a cocktail can be $15. Minimum wage is about $16/hr so that explains quite a bit.

Here’s a list of food places I plan on visiting:

Fishmonger’s for fish and chips.

Quay. Rated one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. (rated number 29) I booked this first before my plane ticket. I lucked out on getting a reservation as it books out months in advance. They’re famous for their snow egg.

Din Tai Fung for dumplings. Apparently the place to go for the best dumpling experience. The restaurant is originally from Taiwan and they’ve expanded to other places. The amount of pleats in a dumpling shows skill as the dough is thin and can easily tear.

As luck would have it, the Crave Sydney International Festival will be on while I’m there. The night noodle market looks pretty cool.

And I have to try Gelato Messina, voted as Australia’s best gelato place.

If there’s time, the exotic fuit tasting tour in Cape Tribulation sounds like a great experience.

See you in a few weeks!

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One year and my Birthday

It’s been a wee bit over one year since I made the big move from Toronto to Vancouver. I’ve made some amazing friends, picked up a new sport (snowboarding!) and I’m still in awe when I see the mountains every day. It was a major adjustment getting used to the weather here. It was hard to handle the grey skies in the winter, spring…and part of summer.

My birthday passed a week ago and I was lucky enough to be taken to Minami for dinner. It’s the sister restaurant of Miku in Coal Harbour and located in Yaletown. It opened up recently and I wanted to try it, especially with the good reviews I saw. It did not disappoint at all. I can say that it is the best sushi I have ever had.

The prices for Minami are more expensive than what you can get at most sushi places in Vancouver (e.g. $25 for 7 pieces of aburi), but the quality that comes with it helps assuage the sticker shock. I like to think of this place as a splurge where you can treat yourself, but not too crazy where you can only afford to eat there once.

They serve aburi sushi (flame seared) that enhances the flavours of the fish. The use of charcoal imparts a slightly smoky taste to it.

Minami

Premium Aburi, a selection of Aburi sushi (Aburi Tenderloin Nigiri that I ordered is seen on the end)
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BC Spot Prawns

Spot Prawns

I may have missed king crab season, but I was determined that B.C. spot prawn season didn’t pass me by.

Spot prawns are local to B.C. and their season is a mere 8 weeks. Restaurants take advantage of this season and you will see them on many menus. Forget the usual rubbery ebi at your sushi joint and have sashimi spot prawns instead for a sweet and succulent treat. The best part about these little guys is that they are sustainable.

The Chef’s Table Society held their 6th annual spot prawn festival. $12 gets you a plate where you get 3 prawns and all the fixings. Vikram Vij was serving the prawns and reminded everybody to eat the prawn heads. Sounds gross, but it really is tasty.

The prawns have a sweetness to it and a salty ocean taste. R thinks they taste a bit like lobster meat. They’re pretty juicy, so the big napkins that were handed out came in handy.

False Creek Fisherman’s wharf boats sell them starting at noon daily for $12/pound (note: they are now selling for $14/pound). You’ll want to get there early as the line gets quite long. When you buy live spot prawns, you only have about 4 hours before they start getting mushy. To keep them longer, you will need to get over your squeamishness and remove their heads…while they are still alive. If that makes you feel faint, you can buy them frozen. Just be sure it’s just the tails so you don’t get mushy ones. You can purchase spot prawns at Lobsterman, Longliner, Salmon Shop on Granville Island.

Tips for attending the festival:
– Buy the pre-sale tickets online. Once the pre-sale tickets are finished, there are reserved tickets available the day of at the festival. But the line up is long, so it’s better to save yourself the hassle.
– Arrive early. A good 20-30 minutes before it starts will ensure a shorter wait and you won’t have to worry if they’re running low on anything.
– Take transit. With so many people at the festival along with the usual Granville Island crowd, parking would have been a nightmare.

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Medina Cafe

Rockies

I’m finally in Vancouver and I’m enjoying the mountain views and the coastal air. After some bad junky road trip food, I was ready for some real eats.

I’ve been on a brunch kick lately and thanks to foursquare I found a place near us. Medina Cafe is known for their waffles with amazing toppings (milk chocolate lavender sauce anyone?)

We started off with the lavender lattes, a popular menu item. It’ll be a regular order for me for sure.

Lavender latte at Medina

I got the Saumon Fume (fried egg, smoked salmon, caper cream cheese, avocado on a ciabatta bun) and R got the daily omelette. While the omelette was good, the Saumon Fume was the clear winner out of the two. Next time I’d like to try the Fricasee (fried eggs, braised short ribs, applewood cheddar) as the Yelp reviews for it were promising.

Saumon Fume at Medina

The portions are modest, but that leaves room for dessert. The waffles are not your standard size, but petite 4″ ones so be prepared to order more than one. There’s a selection of sauces such as fig orange marmalade and white chocolate pistachio rose water. The waffles are a bit pricey at $3.15 a pop plus $1 for each sauce. I had the milk chocolate lavender and the raspberry caramel sauce. I highly recommend the milk chocolate lavender.

Waffles at Medina

Be prepared to wait if you have more than a party of 2. The cafe is small and they don’t take reservations.

I’m happy to have found a great brunch place so quickly, I’m looking forward to adding more to my list of places to go.

Medina Cafe
556 Beatty Street
www.medinacafe.com

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