Manny's Grill and Silog House

Silog is one of those words which has rendered Tagalog as not one of the 'romance' languages. However, being a combination of the words meaning 'fried rice' and 'egg', silog has certainly helped make the Filipino mother tongue one of the 'delicious' languages.
Filipino food is perhaps the most underrepresented of the cultural cuisines when compared to the size of the local population. And so we try to seek it out and give it some exposure (Like, oh sure. We're big influencers). Manny's is on 6th Street in New West and has a menu pleasing to the local Filipino population and easily accessible to people trying this food for the first time.
A silog is a breakfast, in case the meaning of the word did not give it away. An anytime breakfast in reality, always accompanied by white or garlic rice and a couple of sunny side up eggs. Marie will almost always choose milkfish if it is available. This deep-fried full fillet of flakey white fish was very tasty and always comes with a vinegary dipping sauce.
For Marie's daughter, the choice was Tocilog. This is sweet cured pork butt slices (Tocino) cooked on the flat top. When I try cooking Filipino sweet cured meats at home, burning is a problem because of the sugar but cooked just right, it has nice charred bits!
Marie's granddaughter and the smallest appetite in the group, had a skewer of barbeque pork with rice on the side (you know what rice looks like). The pork was tender and tasty enough with a nice little bit of char.
I had the Lechon Kawalli (deep fried pork belly) This is sort of bacon on steroids, and ridiculously delicious. While I grew up not ever having experienced pork belly, Marie uses it quite often in various dishes when she is cooking. It is readily available in the Asian grocery stores but not always in the big chain grocery stores. I am not sure you should eat it at every meal, but its a tasty treat on occasion.
Any way, check this place out. I read about folks having to wait for tables but I think maybe those were old reviews and they have expanded at some point. We were seated right away and the service was friendly and quick. Its a little bare bones here (folding chairs and some booths) but that is often the case with Filipino restaurants. The emphasis tends to be on the food and not the decor.
For what it's worth, we give Manny's Grill and Silog House 4 out of 5.
Manny's Grill and Silog House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Prado Cafe - Whalley

Not sure how to start this one except to say that since I first saw Prado Cafe on Instagram, I've wanted to visit to experience the surroundings. If the coffee was decent, that would be a bonus.
Neither Marie nor I are enthusiastic breakfast people but we ended up at Prado on Sunday morning and so decided to try a couple of things in addition to coffee. 
They have what I think was an ongoing special of a coffee and bread pudding for $4. The bread pudding was tasty enough but a little on the dense side. We should have asked for it to be warmed up. Still, tasty and not a bad way to start your morning.
We also shared the Prado Breakfast and this was definitely worth having. A nicely poached egg on top of microgreens with a balsamic and grainy mustard dressing all on top of mashed avocado on sourdough! Not bad at all! My dark roast coffee had a bit of that bitter aftertaste. I am a Starbucks dark roast guy  (not an expert but not clueless either) and this did not quite do the trick for me.
Still, I love the high ceiling and windows (this is more or less the lobby of the Civic Hotel). The morning menu has a few other variations with poached eggs, toast etc not too mention a choice of baked goods. The furniture is sleek and comfortable while the staff were very friendly. I would come again for the breakfast and maybe try a speciality coffee or tea.
For what it's worth, we give Prado Cafe 3 1/2 out of 5.
Prado Cafe, Surrey Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kamamarui Ramen and Don - Hastings Street

One day of inclement weather and we think that summer is over and flee to the comfort of ramen. In reality, everyone claims that ramen is good in the hot weather as hot food keeps us cool by making us sweat. This is only a good idea if there is somewhere nearby to take a shower, otherwise I will stick to cool food in the hot weather, and hot food in the cool weather!
Admittedly, I am not a hot weather fan so cool weather and a visit to Kamamarui Ramen was my idea of a delightful day. As soon as we began perusing the menu and ordered a couple of combos, we realized that we had been here before, or at least to their sister restaurant on Kingsway.
The Bombs were a dead giveaway as I had only previously seen them at the South Burnaby store. These tasty little balls of rice and nori are a slightly ocean flavoured treat and  we ended up ordering a couple more of them. 
Also as part of a combo, we enjoyed their hot and crispy Karaage Chicken. This wasn't the most earth shattering version that we've had but it's hard to go wrong when the  meat is moist and the dipping sauce is tasty.
On to the main event, I had the Black Garlic Oil Chasu Ramen. This seems to be a more recent addition as I don't see it on posted versions of their menu. It was rich and garlicky and for my money, a complete success. I also asked for the sous vide version of the chashu to compare to the regular. To be honest, I couldn't actually tell you if it was better or not. I think it has more to do with how it gets seared on the grill although I understand the advantages of sous vide. It was delicious either way.
Marie had the Chasu Tonkatsu Ramen ( we never veer far from the  basics) with the regular chasu. Both soups had the requisite wood ear mushrooms, egg and excellent noodles. I was happy not to have a bunch of decisions to make about noodles but happy that they offer regular or rich both. We both chose rich and it was! 
Finally, there was a Mini Mapo Tofu Don. Another little taste of rice with the mildly spicy tofu and pork mixture on top. At only $4, it added a bit of variety. 
Not surprisingly we left full and happy. This is a comfortable little place with pleasant staff. I'm sure it can get busier here but we did not have to wait on Saturday at noon and our food was delivered to us fairly quickly.
For what our opinion is worth, we give Kamamarui Ramen and Don, 4 out of 5.

Kamamarui Ramen & Don Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kook Korean BBQ

I'm not entirely sure how we ended up at Kook Korean BBQ. Marie wanted to take her kids and their partners (and me) out for lunch and the idea of Korean bbq seemed to work for everyone. I buzzed through a few reviews (Yes. I check reviews and you should too.) and the reports about Kook seemed decent and finally...the bbq combination for six on their menu, was tempting.
So, the next thing you know there were, all eight of us, at this sleek and modern Korean bbq restaurant at the corner of First and Renfrew.
One thing that impressed us early on was the extent of the banchan. I counted 15 items all lined up around the grill. Surprising to me was a taste of pasta salad and broccoli with a spicy sauce. None of these was really mind-blowing and I would not return just for that feature but at least there was something for everyone.
The above photo is of roughly half of the bbq items for the Combination for Six. We sat at 2 tables for four that were adjacent to each other. Tables can't be moved all over the place because each has a grill (and a very good and unimposing fan system) but they split the order between each table for us. The appeal of combinations is that it is hard to know otherwise, how much of the different meats for the grill to order. If you want the combo details you can check their website otherwise, you know, ribs, beef, pork, chicken...all pretty good.
This combo comes with a couple of additional dishes namely, Deep Fried Pork with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Seafood Pancake. The pork was as advertised. I am not a huge sweet and sour fan and the pork was a bit on the chewy side but at least there were some vegetables. My opinion may have been in the minority though as this dish was mostly finished off.
The seafood pancake came very hot and with a nice dipping sauce. It was quite good and curiously made up more of imitation crab then actual batter.
Rounding out the combo, there was Soft Tofu Soup and rice for everyone. In hindsight, the combo for six probably would have sufficed for all 8 of us (we have one young'un in our number). At $165, I consider this to be a pretty good deal. But as always we tend to follow the rule that too much is better than not enough (as if we have never heard of ordering an extra dish after if we are still hungry).
So we ordered Korean Deep Fried Chicken with Spicy Garlic Sauce. We asked for the sauce on the side which the folks were cooperative enough to arrange although it does not result in anything Instagram worthy. While the sauce was quite impressive the chicken was much more batter than bird and left me a little disappointed. I'm guessing that I would not have noticed if the dish was combined with sauce and protein together.
Overall our experience was fine. Cooking for yourself whether barbeque or hot pot or even fondue for that matter is more of a novelty than the path to really good eats. For my money, I like to leave the restaurant food to more talented cooks than myself. I will continue to practice my cooking at home for myself and Marie.
Nevertheless,  this was a comfortable experience and the staff were very accommodating.
For what it's worth and the Combo for Six, we give Kook Korean BBQ 3 1/2 out of 5.

Kook Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flip Side Desserts

According to some sources, Flip is a derogatory term but I see it on a food truck (Flip Top Fusion) and now on this Filipino dessert cafe. Could it be one of those terms that is racist if I say it but not if you say it? If so, I'm OK with that except that when I want to recommend the place, I may have to describe it rather than naming it. Or I could just chill out and worry less about being politically correct.
Located on Joyce just off Kingsway (more or less behind Seven Eleven) it looks a little rough on the outside but is nicely adorned inside.
Not a giant menu but they definitely give you a taste of what Filipinos (at least the ones I know) love for dessert, namely halo-halo and anything ube flavoured (purple yam). Available in the form of shave-ice, milkshakes, sundaes etc., don't be afraid of the yam thing. Think of pumpkin pie if you have trouble imagining something savoury becoming dessert. We chose their Master Monster Milkshake for $16.
It was certainly enough for two consisting of a milkshake, a piece of cake and a scoop of ice cream. Enough purple that you could give it a guitar and call it Prince! Of course, there is food colouring but isn't food colouring everywhere? This was some seriously moist and tasty cake, nice ice cream and a wonderful milkshake! Next time we'll try the Halo-halo version (and we could eat the straws!).
Sure, it was quiet when we were there but we eat at odd times, so don't read anything into that. This was a decent experience and our host (who entirely disappeared but must have been keeping an eye on us to see if we needed anything) was friendly and shared our enthusiasm for the desserts.
For what its worth, we give Flip Side Desserts 3 1/2 out of 5.
Flip Side Desserts LTD. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Congee Noodle King

I believe that I could cut and paste my review of Congee Noodle House, change "House" to "King", and no one would be the wiser. For my money though, two of these is not enough. If they chose to open another one out the valley somewhere with its familiar green awning and endless menu, I would be forever grateful!
Congee Noodle King is a short walk from Joyce Street Station on Kingsway and we chose to go there for dinner this past weekend. We were seated quickly by our somewhat abrupt server who clearly had reached the end of her long shift. Our food started to arrive fairly quickly after we placed our order.
First up was Rice Roll with Chinese Doughnut. This was a good version with a crispy doughnut which is what one hopes for.
The Chicken Wings with Spicy Sauce were very good. Unbattered, crispy and hot, they were covered in chopped garlic, green onions and jalapenos. We found ourselves spooning up the 'sauce' even after the wings were gone.
Sauteed Cod and Creamed Corn on Steamed Rice turned out to be deep-fried which was just fine. This was a velvety concoction completed with some scrambled eggs that we have enjoyed in the past. I had to investigate whether their really was fish under that batter! It was thinly sliced but sure enough, it was there.
And finally, Shredded Pork on Noodles came with a clear soup on the side. We mixed it all up and savoured the meaty sauce. Loved the noodles which had just a slight chew and soaked up the sauce.
Congee Noodle King is exactly what you expect which is why we love it. Solid Chinese food with a lot of choices at a reasonable price. A little on the noisy side but that's OK. It's a place where families gather and visit and eat. Despite our one somewhat surly server, everyone else was friendly and accommodating. 
For what it's worth and for what Congee Noodle King is, we give it 4 out of 5.
Congee Noodle King Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pekinpah

I have been feeling bad that we didn't get ourselves to Dixie's before they closed their sit down restaurant on East Hastings (they will continue to cater and provide eats through online order/delivery services) and hope that we don't lose more of the rather rare number of barbeque joints in Metro Vancouver.
Peckinpah's in Gastown serves real barbeque with emphasis on Carolina style sauces (vinegar-based).
We arrived early on Saturday and had our pick of inside or an outdoor table. We enjoyed a table by the window with a view of Gassy Jack surrounded by picture takers and Maple Tree Square.
To start, we tried their Fully Loaded Cornbread which gave us a chance to try their pulled pork. It was very good slightly crumbly cornbread with excellent moist pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw. A surprisingly nice treat at only $5!
The rest of our choices came on a platter including some excellent Mac and Cheese.
I was mildly scolded by our server for trying to put the hot iron bowl on the table for a better pic as it would burn the wood table (The heat had subsided by that time and I am not stupid. No scorching of tables took place in this episode). The macaroni itself was closer to cavatappi and perfect for this dish as it retained a lot of it's to the tooth texture. A cheesy, bacony dish with a crumb topping, this was delicious.
The Collard Greens were wonderful and profited from a drop or two of the spicy vinegar available at the table.
A Fried Chicken add on was also ridiculously tasty. They couldn't call themselves a southern restaurant if that was not the case! Again only $6 for this taste but I would recommend trying the sandwich.
Finally the brisket and here we have mixed reviews. Marie really liked this beef citing the excellent bark (agreed) and very good smoky flavour (also agreed). With the addition of some barbeque sauce (again on the table for us) it was very good. For me, however, it was a little dry in places (common for brisket) and too chewy.
Still, overall we had a pretty good lunch. It's kind of a good place with a real southern barbeque vibe and I would go again, especially for the chicken and pulled pork and sides.
For what it's worth, we give Peckinpah, 3 1/2 out of 5.
Peckinpah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Us

Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...