Mi Mexico - Burlington, Washington

When we venture to the US of A, we have a few loose rules about where to eat. For example, my partner and I rarely eat at Asian restaurants down there. We live in Metro Vancouver so why would we? Be it south, south-east or east Asian food, we lack for nothing here! That being said, we are not the strongest when it comes to Mexican, Soul or Barbecue (Oh, settle down. I know we have a few decent places!) although things are improving. In America, the force is strong in these cuisines! One more thing that we try to remember is that restaurant portions south of the 49th are often geared to satisfy hungry linebackers! Sharing an entree is often the smart thing, unless you are actually in training for the Lions. We forgot that particular rule at Mi Mexico, although considering that all the folks leaving as we were arriving were carrying to go containers, we shouldn't have.
It was a rainy Saturday evening at about 7 when we arrived. Our taciturn hostess clearly would have preferred to be elsewhere and who can blame her? Forced to work Saturday evening in her parents restaurant (totally just guessing) when she could be out having fun! The rest of the wait staff we found to be friendly and accommodating. Mi Mexico has pretty standard maybe a bit stereotypical decor, not that I mind. There are Mexican beer flags, a few iguana on the wall and some sombreros
for good measure. There are some comfy booths as well as tables and chairs. Complimentary chips and salsa arrived first which is nice.
I like to order a tamale at a Mexican restaurant that is new to me. I find it is a good test of a Mexican kitchen. This one was fine, came wrapped in the corn husk which I like and was not too dry. The combination came with a taco and an enchilada and the requisite rice and beans, and in there somewhere is a bit of a coleslaw. Lots of cheese, a bit too much salt but hit the spot overall.
Marie is our official Chile Relleno taster. This one probably started off well but the meat sauce, which tasted too much like spaghetti sauce, kind of rendered it soggy. I thought the poblano itself was nice and meaty and the cheesy filling was flavorful. Aside from that, the rest of the platter resembled mine. Here is where we could have shared a plate as neither of us got more than halfway through. Generous portions for sure.
Marie's daughter was with us on this occasion and had the Queso Dip Burrito. Again, a pretty generous portion and she seemed to enjoy it. Overall, not an unpleasant experience. Not the most amazing either but home style, generous and not too expensive. I would consider stopping by again if I found myself hungry while passing through Burlington.
Mi Mexico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Impossible Burger at Ram in Marysville

I promise that I will not use this blog to preach at you...well maybe just this once. If you are concerned about climate change (and you should be), then you can take shorter showers, drive a smaller car or an electric car or use transit more and recycle. But the thing that you can do that will make the biggest difference is to be a vegetarian (don't panic or hit delete yet) as animal agriculture is by far the greatest producer of green house gas on the earth not to mention a huge consumer of precious water. If you have not done so already, go immediately to Netflix and watch the documentry Cowspiracy. I am watching it for the second time and freaking out. I am not a vegetarian. I call myself a "weekday vegetarian" (sometimes I even cheat at that like this week at "Pizza Palooza") and have been to one degree or another since reading "Diet For A Small Planet" back in the 1970s. I am pretty decent at it for a guy who is left to his own kitchen devices most of the time. In coming weeks, I am going to do a few posts showing how I make that idea work for myself. Maybe some of it will work for you. Even being a part time vegetarian will help the planet, not to mention your health and even your pocketbook.
With all that in mind, I was quite excited to hear about "Impossible Burger" recently. We have all tasted less than impressive vegetarian patties but this is something quite different.Go to impossibleburger.com and read about it. As soon as the opportunity arose, my partner and I set out to one of the nearest places to sample this new product and that brought us to Ram Restaurant and Brewery at Marysville (Tulalip).
This is a busy noisy place and we arrived on Sunday afternoon but were seated right away at a comfy booth where we could watch multiple sporting events and the bustling room. It is nicely decorated with local sports memorabilia and boasts a lot of local brews and evidently capable bartenders. A perfect place for friends to watch the game but we came on a mission! We got to the main event which was to try the Impossible Burger.
Impossible Burger and Coleslaw
0% Animal
And we both agreed, it was very good. It was grilled on the flat top with an excellent crust and I never would have known it was not beef. I kept cutting small pieces to taste it by itself but, while it could have been thicker (and rarer; we were offered the choice but I oddly asked for medium) it was almost but not quite indistinguishable from beef. All this and saving the planet too! I am very excited! I hope Impossible Burger will one day soon be available in grocery stores. Ram served it as a simple burger on a tasty bun with a very good, strongly horseradishy coleslaw.
We ordered Deep Fried Artichoke Hearts as a side which were very nice also. They were a bit dangerous as the pickled artichoke hearts tended to release all their liquid on the first bite. Watch out for that! Service was very nice and efficient and management even agreed to take a couple of pictures of the burger being grilled which I have not included here (sorry). Thanks so much. The menu is not just about Impossible Burger!. Folks can have a nice meal and a great time here even if solving climate change was not in the forefront of their minds! 
Ram Restaurant & Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bubble 88 - Surrey Central

It is hard to go wrong with Taiwanese food (so many tasty possibilities) and Bubble 88 is a good choice, hidden in the Royal Bank strip mall adjacent to Surrey Central Mall. Unfortunately, I have a terrible time making up my mind at this kind of place, especially if there is a decision to be made within the choice (do it yourself combos). I briefly considered just asking for one of each!
Popcorn Chicken
We arrived seriously starving on Sunday afternoon (someone should have eaten breakfast!).We ordered Popcorn Chicken almost before sitting down to keep from falling completely into a low blood sugar fog. It arrived quickly and was hot, salty and tasty and moist inside. We happily munched it down in no time and were soon able to see straight and make up our minds as to the rest of our meal!
Curry Brisket and Rice Combo
Cucumber, Tofu, Cauliflower

I have a weakness for Curry Brisket with Rice and order it often. The "banchan' that arrived with it was somewhat impressive. The cauliflower was quite plain but very refreshing and a good foil for the rich curry. I did love the curry but I spooned a lot, I mean a lot of grease off the top. I guess that is the consequence of nice fatty brisket but I feel like the kitchen could have handled some of it!
Seafood Noodle in Soup

My partner ordered the Seafood Noodle in Soup.and it came as a generous serving with plenty of seafood. The broth was chicken stock and the noodles were just cooked enough to maintain a bit of chewiness. To be honest, the squid seemed a bit too fishy for my tastes but I liked the white fish pieces.
Deep Fried Boneless Chicken Leg with Rice
 Finally for my partner's 6 year old granddaughter, whose company we were enjoying that day, we ordered Deep Fried Boneless Chicken Leg with Rice.I am not sure what the process would be for deboning the chicken leg for this. The legs tend to be full of tendons that would make the process a little tedious. But deboned and pounded thin and deep fried, this was a tasty dish and Juelle, who eats like a bird, enjoyed the bird, and had some to take home. I have to say that I heartily recommend this combination. The rice was topped with some bits of stewed pork belly. Very Nice!
Taro Bubble Tea with Pearls
And does anyone go for Taiwanese without Bubble Tea? Service is efficient as is the kitchen. Everything arrived in fairly short order. There is a station with containers so that you can pack up your inevitable left overs for later! Bright and comfortable inside, come try something tasty from their extensive menu!
Bubble 88 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sal y Limon - South Surrey

Any place with pictures of  Mexican wrestling masks included in its decor deserves a visit. If they serve tacos (or actually host Mexican wrestling), so much the better. Sal y Limon recently opened up in South Surrey in a very nice space with some eclectic Mexican art including the above mentioned masks...and yes, they serve tacos and much more!
I was a little excited about their taco options, all at the friendly price of $2.60 ($3.00 with cheese).
Roasted Lamb Taco
Shrimp Taco
Fish Taco
Slow Roasted Spicy Pork Taco
We tried 4 tacos (of the 17 listed choices, many of which are vegetarian) all with cheese, 2 tortillas, and onions (either raw diced or pickled) while the fish and shrimp tacos also featured finely sliced cabbage, tomato dice and a nice bit of dressing. We loved them all! The shrimp and fish were both crispy and right out of the fryer, while the lamb and pork were both rich and flavourful. All were a good balance of ingredients and were nicely messy. Eat over the table and be prepared to use a lot of napkins. 
I kind of embarrassed myself by taking too much salsa from the extensive salsa bar (well, I wanted to try everything !) and not finishing half of it.
Salsa Bar
The salsas were not of the chunky salsa fresca type for the most part but of the more liquid variety. Some packed a fair punch including diablo and a surprising peanut salsa. Following the tacos we enjoyed a Huarache Al Pastor. The tortilla served under the huarache was a thicker more solid

platform for a more substantial combination. Included were beans, cabbage, red onion, jalapeno, chunky salsa, sour cream and fresh cheese along with our choice of marinated pork with pineapple. It was delicious! 

We finished with a couple of Churros, my partner's new favourite dessert. They were soft and warm on the inside, crispy on the outside with a nice dusting of cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of chocolate. A fine conclusion to a nice meal. This is a bright friendly place, with a play area for small children. Not too expensive, they are bound to do well!. Come get some tacos!
Sal y Limon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buckstop - Denman Street, Vancouver

I obsessed, some would say too much, over the name Buckstop. What did it mean? Where did it come from? Antlers are certainly in evidence here, in the logo and so on ,
so I get the deer thing, but venison is not on the menu and none of the ruminants dropped in for refreshments  while we were there. Is it a masculine reference to what a Saloon might have been say 150 years ago? Shame on me for even suggesting such a thing and rest assured, there were mostly couples and even a toddler present! How about, 'the buck stops here' (there is such a drink on the menu)? Nope, that doesn't work. Now, I know what you're thinking...the name sounds cool and there is some cute potential word play. Just get past it and order something to eat!
My partner and I enjoyed sitting at the front window, watching the West End folks drift by and loved the restaurant soundtrack. We listened to Eels, Johnny Cash, The Charlatans (happily not a single Bob Seger song) and munched happily on Deep Fried Pickles! They were hot out of the fryer, crispy and
Deep Fried Pickles
Corn Bread and Hush Puppies

tasty,with a slightly spicy Cajun dipping sauce. Very nice! Next came Corn Bread and Hush Puppies with sweet butter. Both were moist and sweet with a

Mayuri Indian Cuisine

After discovering and subsequently falling in love with South Indian cuisine only a few months ago (where had you been all my life?), the quest for Dosa has continued. If you have not seen the Netflix series, "Raja, Rasoi aur anya Kahaniyaan" (Kings, Kitchens and their Stories), it is a wondrous food trip around that continent which opened my mind to the possibilities. Anyway, I feel like my partner and I have stumbled across a hidden gem in Mayuri Indian Cuisine. Located in one of the unlovely industrial park concrete complexes along with carpet and light fixture warehouses in Newton, Mayuri is a comfortable, clean and modern restaurant, once you get inside. Arriving on a busy Saturday afternoon to a near full house, we were quickly and comfortably seated. It was hard to decide but there are a few lunch combinations that allow you to try a nice cross section of the kitchen's  fare.
South Indian Dosa Platter
The South Indian Dosa Platter (We ordered the Mysore Masala Dosa) comes with Idli, Vada and Sambar. The dosa filling was a flavorful mixture of potato, onion, tumeric, black mustard seed and I couldn't even guess what other spices. It was not overpowering and did not take away from the excellent crepe that contained it. The vada, a doughnut of chick pea flour (again, I'm guessing here) was crispy and delicious and perfect when dipped in the sambar.

Thali is a round platter (ours was more rectangular) specially for serving several small tastes. Brilliant ! This one came with a couple of puffy Poori, right out of the deep fryer and a pappad for dipping and scooping. The small dishes included 2 rice preparations, tastes of okra, bottle gourd, chickpeas and a dal. there was an excellent hot lime pickle (my partner liked everything else but she just could not endorse the lime pickle!) a refreshing yogurt concoction and a very tasty desert cake that was nicely sweet with almonds and cardamom.

Also served with one or the other of the platters (not entirely sure which ) was a wonderful rich coconut dip which could easily have been purely freshly grated coconut and its milk alone. Pure strong coconut flavour. It was accompanied by a rich spicy tomato based sauce which succeeded in making me sweat!
Coconut and Spicy dipping sauces

All including tax and tip came to under $30 which seems like a bargain for what we enjoyed. Management seemed a little distracted (I would have enjoyed hearing their story) but our server and hostess were very nice, attentive and responsive to my many questions. Give this place a try!
Mayuri Indian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

El Santo - Dine Out Vancouver

We love Mexican food but admittedly our exposure to the tweaked creative type of cuisine served at El Santo is somewhat limited. So I was excited to see their DOV menu and made our reservations immediately. We arrived a few minutes early but were seated right away in this packed house on Saturday evening. This is a boisterous place and it was a little difficult to carry on a conversation (it was challenging also to take photos also owing to the low lights) but we tried to soak in the excitement. This dinner was a creative mix of many individual elements combined into very good dishes. I started with the Sopa de Garbanzo which was lovely to behold. The coffee roasted carrots were a little lost ( I would love to have tried a few on the side) but the roasted beet and lime crema
Sopa de Garbanzo
and Cojita cheese contributed greatly to a wonderful dish. I loathed ruining the picture but only when all the elements were stirred together did you get the point. Marie had the Cachete de Cochino which was a rich braised pork cheek with a brilliant achiote salsa with leeks apple and onion.Very Nice!
Cachete de Cochino
My partner loves Chile Relleno, preferring the deep fried to the roasted version.This however was something completely different. Not a deconstructed dish but an inside out version of a relleno!
Chile Relleno
The poblano and panela cheese formed the centre layer with the green rice on the outside sort of like a layer cake. This was the one dish that had a bit of spice to it so I assume that jalapeno was part of the "green" with maybe tomatillo in the mix. Along with a tasty salsa, this was excellent.
Carnita de Jabali
House made torillas
For my main course I tried the Carnitas de Jabali (wild boar). A little like pulled pork but more beefy than pork, served with house made tortillas, a very good guacamole and a burnt citrus salsa that made me weak in the knees. This made for some of the most memorable tacos I have ever had and honestly, they could bottle and sell the salsa. The acid of the citrus and slight char taste set each other off brilliantly!
For  desert, I had the Charred Corn Husk Flan. To be honest, I did not pick up where the charred corn husk entered the picture. It was a very good flan with a few candied walnuts scattered about for another very nice looking presentation.
Charred Corn Husk Flan
As far as my partner is concerned, the star of the evening, were the churros. I admit that while they were just churros, they were some amazing churros. With a pot of chocolate sauce on the side, and some coarse Ancho sugar, they were the perfect desert. In fact, I got talked into getting some more to go! And if you can imagine, they never made it all the way home! Despite how busy the restaurant was, our food came out relatively quickly. We were comfortable and service was very good. With one more DOV weekend left, I very much recommend El Santo.

El Santo 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...