Plato Filipino

Just south of Joyce Street Station is a small treasure trove of Filpino food in the form of 3 Filipino restaurants in a row! A month or two ago, Marie and I started to explore these places and we decided to arbitrarily start in the middle with Pampanga's Cuisine! We certainly had no regrets there but where would we go next? North or south? These are the types of dilemmas that we face on an almost daily basis! Life certainly can be complicated! Fortunately, the problem was solved for us as out of the blue, Plato Filipino followed us on Instagram! Let this be a lesson for all of you. Follow us on the gram and we will blog about you. Even if you do not have a restaurant!
The set up at P.F. is similar to the aforementioned P.C., namely rice and two for $9.50.
The photo above shows maybe a third of what they offer as your two. I am fortunate to have a Filipina as my guide in this selection as the food was not labelled and the lady serving spoke a little too fast for my ears. I am getting so that I can recognize a lot of the dishes though.
As usual, my first choice was Kare Kare. I have realized that this is my Filipino sweet and sour pork (i.e. accessible to the most uneducated palate and something a white guy might order). I do not apologize however as this was rich and peanuty with tender pork. The ubiquitous funky shrimp paste has fast become a delicious necessity to cut through the rich sauce. 
Next was Pork and Chicken Adobo which is essentially the national dish of the Philippines. Pork belly and in this case chicken breast, stewed in garlic, soy sauce and vinegar this is another dish that can be enjoyed by all. It was also wonderful with the exception of the chicken breast which was surprisingly tough. Dark meat is always a better choice for adobo.
Again, Marie being the Filipina among the two of us, goes a little more all in with her choices. Her first dish was Binagoongan. This is stewed pork with shrimp paste, a rich complex flavour with the subtle hint of that shrimp paste flavour. Again it was very good. Her second choice was Papaitan, a dish traditionally made with goat innards and the flavour of which comes from bile. Yes, I said bile. It is truly a favourite of some of our Filipino friends but I have had a little problem loving it. The first time I tasted it, I would not let Marie bring the leftovers into the for fear of spillage. This time, it seemed a little more palatable to me and Marie ensures me that it was enjoyable.
Filipino food may not be as chic as some Asian cuisines but it is warming and comforting for the Canadian winter (and it's not even winter yet). It is food for family and friends and is indicative of a culture that could make something from a little and not waste.
As for as P.F compared to Pampanga's Cuisine, we're going to go ahead and call it a draw. Friendly folks and casual, comfortable enough atmosphere.
For what it's worth, we give Plato Filipino, 4 out of 5. 
Plato Filipino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Town Bakery and Restaurant - Whalley

A little hole in the wall near Surrey Central station, New Town Bakery and Restaurant sports a line up nearly out the door, I am guessing close to all the time for their wonderful Chinese and Filipino baked goods including delectable Siopao (the Filipino version of Chinese Char Sui Boa).
We have been members of that line up many times but decided to grab a table in this decidedly un-fancy little restaurant and test the kitchen! It would not disappoint. We started by ordering too much as usual and lunch turned into leftovers for dinner. 
We started with Beef Noodles in Soup (Beef Mami). This is evidently the Filipino version and we loved the wheat noodles and silky tender beef. 
We ordered Squid with Spicy Salt which also made us happy. Tender yet crispy and hot from the fryer, with a nice topping of salt, garlic and chillis. This seemed a little pricey at $19.25 but overall prices for most items are reasonable. The family-style items can get up there a bit.
The Sweet and Sour Pork on Rice was only $11.25 and very tasty. I had a little crisis ordering this as it feels like a very "white guy" thing to order and I pride myself on being a little more adventurous. I guess one would call this a guilty pleasure and frankly it was very good. Not overly sweet or 'red' as I kind of expected. 
Finally Curried Fish Balls. The curry sauce was tasty enough but they were just fishballs leading me to ask, why did I order this? There was nothing wrong with what New Town did with them but they were just fish balls.
A simple dining room not built for date night but service is friendly and accommodating (they actually packed up our leftovers instead of just giving us containers). While the menu is mostly Cantonese, we notice more Filipino dishes listed on notes taped to the walls. The whole clientele and vibe of this branch of New Town is sort of half Filipino and half Cantonese.
For what our opinion is worth, we give New Town Bakery and Restaurant 3 1/2 out of 5.
New Town Bakery & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dosanko

Scoutmagazine.ca recently referred to Dosanko as maybe Vancouver's most underappreciated restaurant. This is because people should be lining up down to block to taste the wonderful yoshoku style comforting food. I'm happy to report that this particular Saturday evening there was a full house at this casual family-run restaurant.
If they are not as busy as you would expect at times, it certainly might have something to do with location. A little off the beaten path on Powell Street, Dosanko is definitely more of a destination than a convenient and delicious place to grab lunch. You should make the effort though!
One of the most impressive things about Dosanko is the fact that almost everything on the menu is house-made. We tried their house-made Koji Cured Ham which to my untrained palette (and without a side by side tasting) was like very good prosciutto. Very tasty and rich and artfully served on a wooden platter with poached quince and shiso. It was a wonderful confluence of flavours!
Another great surprise at Dosanko is cheese! We saw Crispy Cheesy Onigiri on the menu and it checked all the boxes. In its half-devoured state above, you can see the reservoir of melty cheese. As we know, dairy is not a regular feature on an Asian menu but Yoshuku is essentially Japanese techniques with local ingredients. This is a tasty example of that!
I have already drooled over too many pictures of Dosanko's Curry-Rice not to order it. It lived up to my wildest dreams. It was so rich and comforting with mild Japanese style curry sauce over rice and tender pork and once again, melted cheese! Served in a hot stone bowl with house-made carrot and onion pickles. A bowl of their pickles alone is worth the price of any inconvenience in getting here!
Marie had the Ling Cod Katsu which came with a bowl of rice on the side as well as delicately dressed greens and cabbage. We were surprised at the generous serving of crispy panko encrusted cod and loved the tartar sauce (I call it that but I could not tell you exactly, other than again, house-made). My only criticism of the evening (it's an ugly word and anyone is welcome to take exception) was that the fish needed salt! Marie correctly pointed out that between the lemon wedge and the sauce, nothing was lacking but still....needed salt.
Sadly, we were too full for dessert. There are other things on this menu that we will return to try. This makes our second visit to Dosanko and there will be more. I think I can safely say that Marie and I consider this our favourite restaurant in Metro Vancouver. 
Service is impeccable and the decor and music all make for a relaxed and intimate experience.
For what it's worth, we give Dosanko 5 out of 5.
Dosanko Resaturant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

J & G Fried Chicken

Fried chicken may well be nature's most perfect food (sorry chickens). Despite my leanings toward and admiration of vegetarian and even vegan eating, I have a serious weakness for fried chicken.
J & G is a newish fried chicken joint from Taiwan (aren't all our best new places from Asia?) with a location at Crystal Mall. For the record, Marie and I always use transit to get to Crystal Mall as it most certainly has the worst parkade in the world (it's circular with literally trapezoidal parking spots...really?). Anyway, we waded in on Sunday afternoon to try J & G (who were recently featured on Vanfoodster's Fried Chicken Challenge). The wait time between ordering and our food being ready was 10 minutes or so, indicating the food is not sitting somewhere under hot lights.
We had to try their Heart-shaped Chicken Cutlet which is actually a deboned breast. This was nothing short of amazing. Hot and crispy and just a bit spicy it was moist and tender even at its thickest point. I am certain that it must be brined. Do not miss this at $9.50.
I also have a bit of a weakness for Deep Fried King Oyster Mushrooms. Same deal here, they were amazing! Don't burn yourself as the liquid in the mushrooms can be hot.
Finally, they were offering a special of Deep Fried Shrimp. These were also good. They were not completely shelled and parts of the shells were not chewable like they sometimes are. I'm not sure it would be great to swallow that. 
Everything on the menu at J&G is deep-fried. There are no noodles or sides of rice or vegetables available at the Crystal Mall location. I guess you can stop at a neighbouring vendor but that means more lining up. To emphasize the freshness of their product, a note on their menu declares that the chickens were "electrically slaughtered" (Jesus !)  either on the day or day before. Maybe just a little more information than we needed.
Still, everything that we had was very good, and for what it's worth, we give J & G Fried Chicken 4 out of 5.  
J&G Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Stuffies - A Grand Opening

I rarely go out of my way for a grand opening. I'm not keen on line-ups for one thing. Also, it often takes some time for a new place to get up to speed, work out the kinks and show what they are going to produce. So it was only by total fluke that I stumbled across Stuffies on their opening day at Guildford Town Centre. When I first happened by, the line up was long so I just kept going.
On a later loop around the mall, the crowds had subsided enough to make me think a little snack might be nice (Oh my God! It's true! I have turned into a mall walker!)
There is a bit of a counter and some seats on one side of Stuffies (they won't be taking reservations) so I ordered something to eat and set up shop to try to take some pictures. 
The whole point of Stuffies is cute little, waffle based, animal-shaped pastries with sweet custard (strawberry and vanilla (?)) filling. I ordered them dipped so, unfortunately, these bears and fish had their features obscured by icing and sprinkles. They were tasty enough. They are advertised as gluten-free but I am unsure if that applies to all their menu items or not. I'm also not sure why you need to avoid gluten while binging on sugar.
Happily, it is more than just a sugar fest. I ordered a breakfast Cro-Tai (actually, I called it a breakfast sandwich and was quickly corrected) which is the same waffle cooked in a mould idea but this one came with bacon and egg. I also ordered what turned out to be a very decent Americano!
The Cro-Tai was quite good and at $4.25, I would choose it over an egg a' muffin any time.
They do a fish with ice cream also which looked pretty good! Their ice cream is dairy-free and soy-based (meaning its not really ice cream at all). While few people are actually gluten-sensitive but play into the current fad, a full 65% of the human race has a measure of lactose intolerance. So the dairy-free thing makes sense while I'm am usually just annoyed when I see things advertised as gluten-free.
Stuffies was prepared for the first-day influx and service was quick.
For what it's worth, we give Stuffies 3 out of 5.
Stuffies Pastries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hopcott Meats

Hopcott Meats is a little out of our neck of the woods which is too bad. We made the trek here, maybe a year and a half ago for Vanfoodster's Taco Challenge. We were suitably impressed at the time, so it wasn't a hardship to cross the bridge and come again to Pitt Meadows
for Vanfoodsters' Burger Challenge.
A butcher shop and country store (and more than that) with a deli/cafe making the use of their products. They are located out in the pleasant farm country of Pitt Meadows.
So we came for the burger, one of three in this year's challenge.
This was a burger with all the fixin's. The Good Morning Burger featured a freshly ground chuck patty, house double-smoked bacon, aged cheddar, tomato, lettuce, sauces on a sesame seed bun. The beef itself tasted of quality and the work of people who know how to cook meat! A nice charry sear and just cooked medium. It was a bit of a messy thing to eat but certainly not in a bad way! It came with fries but we upgraded to Root Vegetable Fries. These were memorable. Most were crispy and flavourful. The beets were our favourites but while beets do not crisp well, they were so sweet! Amazing!
We also ordered a Smoked Brisket Sandwich and here our minds were blown! The brisket was moist and smokey and wonderfully flavoured. Not cooked in a very conventional manner, if I understood correctly, it spent 2 days on the smoker and another day in a low oven! The result was spectacular and everyone needs to try it! Not a complicated sandwich (ciabatta and smokey sweet mustard) but why would you complicate it?
Perch on a stool or sit at a table and enjoy the calming view of the country. They have a short menu of sandwiches, burgers, paninis as well as other lunch items. Service is friendly (order and pick up at the counter) and there is refreshing ice water with lemon available at the counter.  
For what it's worth, we give Hopcot Meats 4 out of 5.
Hopcott Meats Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicken World

Some of my favourite hole-in-the-wall and decidedly not-exploding-on-social-media type joints, I have found just by fluke while looking for something on Google Maps. Chicken World is an example of that, located at 128th Street and 96th Avenue in North Delta where I am sure I would never find myself unless I was very lost.
So having noticed CW on Maps, I still wouldn't have rushed out if I hadn't been intrigued by things on their menu that I did understand but didn't expect and other items that I didn't fully understand.
Starting with the Nashville Billo Burger. I know what Nashville means but Billo? Turns out it means, pickles coleslaw and I think cheese! It is a reference to the toppings on the burger and other names like Gabbar and Karizma are similar. This turned out to be a pretty good Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich! It made me sweat! Really very good fried chicken and decent slaw pickles and cheese left me impressed!
We ended up getting some stuff to go including Peri-Peri chicken. The minimum order for this is 5 pieces and guess what? It also turns out to be very good chicken! We ordered 1/2 spicy and half mild (for 5 pieces that would drive most people crazy).
The regular fried chicken was also decent, along the lines of Church's. This came with fries (you've seen fries before) which had a bit of a crunchy coating. Does one of the other chains do that? They were not bad.
Finally, and also under the heading,'I was not expecting that' was Arabian Rice. Tasty, spicy basmati rice cooked in some kind of stock, I would guess. It's a decent alternative to the usual fries.
Typical fast food digs, there are a few tables and the floor is slippery in places. If I understood correctly, the boss was a trainer at KFC in Pakistan. In my opinion, he brought some experience and the good stuff from KFC to build something quite a bit better here. The folks working here seem enthusiastic about what they are offering!
When Dad's not cooking!...Wait..what?
For what it's worth, we give Chicken World 3 1/2 out of 5.
Chicken World Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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...