Asaka Ramen - Richmond

There may come a day when we say, "Enough new ramen places already!" So far however, that day has not arrived. Asaka has been open just a couple of months. They serve some of the usual ramen choices that we are used to seeing with the bonus of bubble tea and in house made ice cream!
Located on Number 3 Road, just shy of the River Rock Casino in the industrial stretch, it is easily accessible now but might be a bit nightmarish when the night market is open. Inside, they are all decorated up for Halloween but don't be afraid!
The Black Garlic Tonkatsu Ramen was our favourite (and usually is) with a perfect 1/2 egg and the usual trimmings including some corn, greens and bamboo shoots. The broth was rich and luxurious. We ordered thin noodles with one soup and medium with the other. I was content that there were no other decisions to be made to customise our order. Sometimes that gets a little much with the extra fatty or skinny broth well cooked or under cooked noodles etc. Just feed me!
We made one order a combo with Karaage Chicken which was amazingly tender and hot out of the fryer.
We also ordered Miso Ramen which was similar but never quite as rich as the Tonkatsu. This one we ordered with Deep Fried Brussels Sprouts.
Now, I already like Brussels sprouts but I figured, everything is better deep fried, right? Well, the pay off wasn't quite so significant with this as I expected. They were nicely cooked and served with Japanese Mayo but they would have been just as good pan fried or roasted. Stuffed as usual, but the temptation of in house made ice cream was too much!
The smallest amount we could order was a scoop but they were running a special which provided a second scoop and so who could pass. We tried mango and black sesame. Both were very nice. The texture seemed a little dense but what I liked was that I did not find them overly sweet. Very good!
Asaka should do well here. Their service friendly and efficient and the place is comfortable enough! And we didn't even try the bubble tea! Next time maybe!
Asaka Ramen and TMix Bubble Tea and Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef's Playground Eatery - Steveston

"Where chefs think outside of the box" is how the Chef's Playground Eatery describes itself and the menu reflects both a rather mischievous creativity and a  bit of an obsession with freshness. We were excited to try this little cafe. This was to be stop number two for us, of the 2018 Vanfoodster's Burger Challenge.
Located just a couple of blocks from the Steveston waterfront,the folks are friendly here and service is good! We arrived during the brunch period on the weekend and to be fair, the Vanfoodster Burger Challenge details indicate that their challenge offering is available for lunch and dinner. What followed was a brief breakdown in communication between myself and our server where I thought that I was ordering the Truffle Mushroom Cheesy Burger but what I actually got was the Bacon Cheddar V2.0 Burger.

This was a nicely cooked (not overcooked) burger with all the stuff I hope for on a burger so I can't complain but no truffle mushroom ailoli ! I may have to return just to try their challenge offering...such hardship! Marie and I agreed that the fries were above average as well, being hand cut and skin on.
To offset the burger and fries we shared a Chef's Healthy Salad with a citrus yogurt dressing, a nice selection of tasty greens and some bit of strawberry, apple and Mandarin sections. Very Nice!
Now, I am not a fresh fruit juice guy. I don't put it into the same category as Goop products but I find that people who juice tend to believe it will solve all their problems. That was not the case at Chef's Playground where they offer a refreshing juice for brunch just as a nice way to start your day! This one was cucumber, apple and celery with a nice little mint garnish. It was very refreshing although maybe just a bit sweeter than I prefer.
We enjoyed our visit to Chef' Playground and hopefully we will get back to try their burger entry in the challenge. Still no regrets as we enjoyed a tasty brunch!
Chef's Playground Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sulmida - Burnaby

The first thing you know about Sulmida is that their desserts are meant to be shared! Try ordering one each and you will look like Marie and I did on Sunday, namely like a couple of people who had just emerged from being lost in the woods, and were starving.
Conveniently located directly across from Metroown Shopping Mall, Sulmida is one of the many Korean Dessert Cafes that have been popping up around Vancouver. And it is no wonder that they are popular as Bingzu is a wonderful fruit (or other) covered desert of ice cream and snow!
Although my pictures seem to suck compared to some of the beautiful versions I have seen on Instagram, you get the idea! By the way, I did not do the ears! Under the delicious mango and banana tea cosy is a mountain of refreshing shave ice (?) or something close to it.On top is a scoop of ice cream and Marie and I barely finished it (this is the small size!)
But then, underestimating the size of the desserts and overestimating our hunger, I had also ordered a Chocolate Lava Cake. This was also a wonderful thing. Lava cake is called such as there is a well of, in this case wonderful chocolate sauce in the interior which oozes out like a lava flow. We strategically ate some of the melty ice cream and them packaged the rest to go, for the kids. The cake itself is a bit more of a sweet white bread than cake but it is a very good vehicle for chocolate and banana. Very nice!
It seems a little expensive but if you look at the sample case ( a novel idea that I should have applied) you will see that these are large desserts. If you like to try some different things, bring more friends!
Accommodating and friendly people work here. It is not uncomfortable but not fancy either. We will be back!
Sulmida Dessert Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hendricks Resto-Lounge

Located on the second floor of the Westin Grand, Hendicks is a smallish chic room where hotel guests and others can enjoy meals from morning to evening and a libation when appropriate.
Service was friendly and efficient and the sound track was enjoyable (for us that is) running from Gin Blossoms, to Hendrix (coincidence?) to Lenny Kravitz and so on.
We came here as our first stop on Vanfoodster's Burger Challenge. Hendricks' entry was the aptly named Hendricks Burger at $17. The burger was a very nice mix of the condiments which make the average person smile.
Smoked mozzarella and cheddar, nicely crisp bacon, garlic aioli, onion marmalade (caramelized onions but I know it is cool to call it marmalade) lovely thick ripe tomato slices and peppery arugula. The burger was not served on sesame brioche as promised but I would not hold that against them. The one problem was that the meat was quite overcooked. Nicely charred yes, but to the point where there was not even a hint of pink. Flavorful too, but could have been more tender if that line was not crossed.
The carrot-cumin slaw which accompanied the burger made up for a lot. With sweet raisins which had been plumped in, I'm not sure what, this was a winner. And I know that it was just slaw. Another home run for Hendricks was the "Flight of Benedicts" that Marie and I also shared.
Truly, a well poached egg, something that seems very simple, reveals that someone in the kitchen knows what they are about! These perfectly shaped and nicely soft of yolk but just firm enough of white eggs where perfect for half a classic, half a smoked seafood and half a Schnitzel Benedict. The Hollandaise was also very good being rich and creamy! A generous helping of smoked salmon and shrimp, tasty back bacon and thinly fried pork tenderloin made up the rest and you can guess which is which!
Oh! And they brought us a couple of nice complimentary pastries to begin with! Thanks for a nice meal, folks!

Hendricks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lemon Bakery - Langley

I have driven past Lemon Bakery on Fraser Highway in Langley many times but I am not really a pastry guy.... I am however, a lemon bar guy. My Mom used to occasionally make lemon bars and this memory came back to me one day so Marie and I stopped to check this place out. Very inviting is how I would describe Lemon Bakery, and the goods don't stop at lemon although the bars made the stop worth while!
Tart but not too tart, just sweet enough, they should be one of the essential food groups! Memories came flooding back and I asked myself, am I a foodie because of my Mother's lemon bars? Nah, everyone is a foodie on some level.
Lemon Cookies and even pies are also available but these are only some of the highlights. Scones, Halloween cookies (well, not all year round obviously), cinnamon buns and lunch!
I decided to stop in for lunch one day.
A Grilled B.L.T.C with Tomato Soup on the side! The soup was rich and tasty and the BLTC was exactly what you would expect! They have a nice selection of lunch time sandwiches and wraps in addition to their baked treats.
Better than fast food skip the golden arches and try Lemon Bakery for lunch when in Langley!
Lemon Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pajo's - Steveston

Who hasn't done a review of Pajo's? Esteemed as perhaps the best place for fish and chips in Metro Vancouver, located in such picturesque surroundings at the Steveston waterfront, this place has shone as a beacon for many years such that they are now two locations within a couple of blocks. I am not able to reveal anything startling or new but a beautiful crisp sunny  autumn day just obliged us to come here!
We chose the original and possibly busier location on the wharf. The line ups to order and pickup remained 10 people deep the whole time we were there but they actually do an amazing job at getting you through and every order is hot out of the fryer. There are no warming tables here!
Once you have gone halibut you will never go back! I am doomed to pay the extras $6 for the rest of my days but the three piece Halibut and Chips is definitely worth the cash and wait here!
Chips are bottomless by the way but we were not able to take advantage. The halibut was meaty and cooked to perfection and the fries were of the skin on, very crispy type with lots of the little pieces worth fighting over. Served with very good tartar and serve yourself lemon, malt vinegar, necessary napkins etc. Perfect!
We tried a couple of their Crab cakes. I'm guessing 30 to 40% crab mixed with cracker crumb and finally diced peppers and these were pretty good too. We locals love to eat outside when the sun shines (Pajo's has no indoor seating) and the area boasts fresh seafood direct from the fishermen and the occasional Sunday radio controlled sailboat regatta. Definitely worth visiting for excellent fish and chips and just touristing around!!

Pajo's Fish & Chips Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Akedo Ramen - Langley

When last we left our heroes, they were begging shamelessly for you to follow them on Instagram. Since that seemed to work pretty well, I am repeating the cowardly act. Just remember that our posts make yours look really professional by comparison! yes_were_eating_again ...Thanks!

Ramen takes another step east to Langley! Well technically ramen started in the east, worked its way all the way west to Vancouver and is taking a small step back to the east. Importantly, a little further to the east and it will be near our front door! I have been excited to try Akedo Showten but knew it had to be done strategically. Posts on Instagram have indicated that they have sold out of product on certain occasions and I have had the feeling that lineups at this new place were the norm. Although we were seated right away just before noon on Saturday, there was a line up by the time we left.
We were greeted (and later sent on our way)  with the usual ramen house / izakaya enthusiasm making us feel right at home. I was a little taken aback by our first look at the menu. Your chose your broth as black (chicken stock) or white ( stock including mussels). What? No pork broth? (What is most comical here is that I, the middle aged Caucasian guy, have become the ramen police!) However, both Marie and I tried the black stock and found it to be a near religious experience!
The broth itself (Truly the chef's baby. He is said to spend the night preparing it for the day's service.) is rich and silky with excellent garlic flavour! The Ajitama Ramen included some moist tender slices of chicken "cha-shu" along with some excellent thin noodles (imported from Japan) and nicely crunchy greens! Wonderful!
The Cheeeese Ramen (Is that a thing or another creative foray?) was similar with the addition of...wait for it...cheese. The choice of Swiss for this addition is truly inspired. This could not have been more delicious!
We also tried the Deep Fried Gyoza. These were porky and crunchy, maybe a little thick of skin but not bad.
A little on the small side, maybe 24 seats but service is not rushed. This will continue to be a busy place but well worth a visit!
Akedo Showten Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

North Noodle House

First of all, please follow us on Instagram. Our posts make your posts look really good by comparison! yes_were_eating_again

I'm not an expert on China (OK. I did read some history and I can name all the dynasties) but I know that they grow wheat in the north and rice in the south. So north generally means bread, noodles and dumplings (although they do have a few rice dishes on the menu here). It also means that most perfect of dishes, cumin lamb. The very thought of cumin lamb makes me salivate!
So with that in mind, we made our way to  New Westminster Station (weirdly, we drove there) where North Noodle House is located. I have wanted to try this place for sometime for the house made noodles and the aforementioned lamb. It is a little squeezy here with maybe 16 to 20 seats and a fair bit of traffic but we did not have to wait. 
First up was the Spicy Cumin Chinese Hamburger. The bun itself was pillowy but nicely browned on the flat top while the spicy filling lived up to my hopes and dreams! If I was a bit more of a food stylist, I could have done a better job of making it look as good as it tasted!
The Lan-Zhou Beef Soup Noodles were also very good. Comforting and warm with the flavour of star anise, there was a generous amount of tender beef and tasty contrasting pickled vegetables.
We discovered the very good house made noodles hiding underneath!
Finally, Fried Pancake with Pork. Not the most photogenic dish but this was also very good. Only close examination revealed that this was not a noodle dish. It reminded me of our weekend brush with Kottu Roti from Sri Lanka, another dish that is a stir fry but with thinly sliced roti. There were many more dishes on the menu that we would have liked to try but even as it was, we had leftovers to go! As we were leaving, I gazed longingly at someones dish of Fried Chicken with Potatoes, Hot Peppers and Spicy Star Anise Sauce as it arrived (Xin-Jiang Noodles). We will be back to try that! Service was friendly and what I would call, very efficient. I felt like our space was needed and didn't care to linger too long as the check arrived by express at our table.That is not a criticism however just an observation!  This is a wonderful place to carb up and we recommend it!
North Noodle House 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...