Facing East Taiwanese Restaurant - Bellevue

We generally don't seek out Asian restaurants when we're not in Metro Vancouver. Why would we, unless of course, we were actually in Asia? But my partner had a craving for rice (she gets that sometimes) and not Mexican rice or fried rice or rice noodles. It needed to be rice! So I did some quick research and found that Facing East has a pretty good reputation locally, not just for rice but for Taiwanese food.
Not overly tempting from the outside, located in an older strip mall, its almost like someone is trying to keep it a secret. And I wouldn't blame them if they were as I read stories of long waits. Fortunately Marie and I tend to eat at unfashionable hours (as in, when we're hungry) a habit which has saved us many hours of lining up.

We started with the Taiwanese Pork Burger. It was very tasty with tender pork on a steamed bao. A pleasant mix with greens and finished with a surprising mix of ground peanuts and sugar. Very nice!
Next was the Five Spice Beef Roll. We loved the refreshing greens and sweet sauce. Not too adventurous but enjoyable. Next we stepped off the beaten path (for us) and tried Sweet Potato Flour Pancake with Yearling Oyster, Egg and Veggies. 
This was an amazing dish, slightly translucent like sweet potato noodles but crispy on the bottom from some decent wok heat. The oysters were small and subtle and the greens and eggs all made for an omelette of sorts. I would order this again! Not 100% sure on the sauce but I believe it was sweet chili.
Marie needed something to go with her rice (not pictured as its just rice) and Milkfish was the thing. This was perfectly cooked although a little salt wouldn't have been amiss. It was served with pickled cucumber and ginger and a bit of lemon which brightened the main attraction.
Finally there were Sesame Noodles. To be honest all we could do was give these a taste and ask for them to be packed up to go. This was a generous serving with some nicely al dente noodles and a rich sauce. I don't usually forget to take a picture of the interior of the restaurant but think, sleek and dark. Service was gracious, with different folks checking in on us. We definitely would return.
For what it's worth we give Facing East 3 1/2 out of 5.
Facing East Taiwanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mike's Chili Parlor - Ballard, Washington

When I first saw Mike's Chili Parlor on Triple D maybe 10 years ago, I told myself that a pilgrimage was in order at some point. When I saw that G.F. had revisited Mike's and realized that I had not even been for the first time, I got serious.
Mike's qualifies under the third D namely as a dive, but I mean that in the most affectionate way possible! You can have chili a couple of different ways namely with beans or without. You can have it in a bowl or on stuff. You can have it with stuff on top. So we had chili.
First, we had it in a bowl without beans, with cheese, onions and jalapenos. It was delicious. A little bit greasy and a little spicy from the peppers but rich and beefy.
Next we got a chili dog with cheese on top of the chili on top of the dog. I realize that you will have to take my word on the hot dog part. This time the chili had beans which suits me. The dog under there is just a regular hot dog. 
Finally there were Chili Fries. I believe that Mr Fieri has had an influence here. Allegedly Mike's began double frying (blanching) in response to his suggestion and admittedly the fries are really good. More chili, cheese, onions and jalapenos. We couldn't eat it all and ended up taking some home for later. Don't do what we did namely over dose on chili. It is quite rich and should be consumed in reasonable portions. Watch the game, have a beer (if you like) and enjoy a bowl of chili.
Mike's doesn't seem to have been affected by two visits from the Triple D group.  I am sure that it looks the same as it did before Mr Fieri came to town. That makes me happy for those that might consider this their local. It wouldn't hurt to spend a little bit on the bathrooms though. Friendly service! Nice folks!
For what its worth, based on the experience, we give Mike's 4 out of 5. 
Mike's Chili Parlor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I'm sure that we all agree that freshly, hand made in front of you dumplings are one of the great luxuries of life. Coordinating and making this to serve in a restaurant would be no small deal, but it has been done before and will be done again. On Sunday, we wanted to find out how ColourSeeSee took on this challenge.
After risking my life stepping out onto Kingsway to take a photo of the front of the restaurant, we went inside and were quickly seated in this new small dining room across from Metrotown. OK, I had read the review that said it took an hour and a half to get dumplings but I chose to view that as an anomaly. Ninety minutes for food is not how a restaurant succeeds and they would not last long without correcting the process. Sure enough, they had by the time we arrived.
This is a sharply decorated little room with a comfortable banquette seating along the wall with chairs and tables. Admittedly, things started a little bit on the wrong foot and I attribute this to a rush of people leaving and arriving at the same time. I am not making an excuse but the stumble in service was certainly not intentional (We were not provided with cards for ordering or offered tea. Fortunately, I am not shy and made a couple of trips to the counter to get things right. After that, partly at least in the effort to demonstrate their good intentions, service was attentive and friendly).
We ordered a couple of combos which basically allowed us to taste much of what was on the menu. One combo started with a small won ton soup. The broth itself was maybe on the too subtle side but seaweed gave it a fresh light taste. The won tons (part of their handiwork here) were delicate and tasty. Very good!
The other combo started with Curry Beef Vermicelli Soup. Also not a strong soup but very nicely flavoured complete with tender beef, tofu puffs and greens! We came for the dumplings though!
With the combos came 4 pan fried buns or 4 pan fried dumplings. This is where ColourSeeSee truly began to shine. Wonderfully created by hand and then beautifully browned these were so tasty and tender. Both were pork filled and we loved them!
Finally came the Soup Dumplings (this was a separate order and not part of a combo). These were pork and shrimp filled and excellent. Our hostess came to demonstrate and make sure that we understood the process of eating soup dumplings without scalding yourself. She seemed pleased at our enthusiastic response to these very good dumplings! Total wait for the dumplings was 30 minutes but we had started with soup so there was certainly no hungry waiting.
You can watch the folks creating if you choose. 
So conveniently located steps away from the madness of the mall and even just a short walk from the skytrain this is a place to check out. We will be back!
For truly memorable dumplings and such nice people, we give this place 4 1/2 out of 5.

Colour See See 上海本色 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gulberg Restaurant - Newton - Vanfoodster's Curry Challange

There are literally dozens of Indian style restaurants in the Surrey area that are on my 'list.' We have had some wonderful North Indian and South Indian meals and I derive comfort from the fact that we will never run out of new places to try. My attention was drawn to Gulberg (they are on my 'list' for sure but when would we finally get there?) because of their participation In Vanfoodster's Curry Challenge taking place this month and because what they serve leans towards Pakistani!
When we arrived at Gulberg Restaurant, we were impressed with what we found! In addition to the restaurant, there is a market complete with butcher shop and anything else that you might need, and the Gulberg Cafe with an altogether separate menu and kitchen (as near as I can tell).
Beef Nihari is Gulberg's entry into the Curry Challenge. This is a Pakistani curry with beef shank, a surprising number of spices and many, many hours of slow cooking. The result is a rich comforting stew of tender meat that packs a bit of a spicy punch. We recommend it highly including the frozen version available under the name Barakah Eats (Google where to buy) which we tried at home and enjoyed greatly! They currently have four of their tasty dishes available for home cooks.
We also our tried a couple of our usuals including Fish Pakora. Hot out of the fryer with a coriander chutney on the side, this was also impressive. I appreciate that they have two sizes of this dish available and the smaller was easily enough for Marie and me.
Marie loves Butter Chicken and this one was quite good. No big surprises just good!
We went off script a little bit and ordered one of their specialties, Mash Fried Daal. Another Pakistani dish if I am not mistaken. Cooked with a bit of texture still in the lentils and lots of ginger and spice. This is one of those dishes that makes veganism doable. I would order this again.
Of course, our meal came with what I would call impressively sized naan and more than enough. Crispy from a very hot tandoor on the one side and tender and chewy overall this is some of the best naan that we have had.
In Gulberg Restaurant, you order and pay at the counter and either pick up your food or it is delivered to your table. Their menu is rather wide ranging with forays beyond Indian and Pakistani food into fried chicken and pizza etc. There is probably something for everyone.
We found the restaurant to be a little on the chilly side but not the service. They checked on us a couple of times, topped up our water and were friendly and helpful. Put us down as fans of Gulberg Restaurant.
For what its worth, we give Gulberg Restaurant 4 1/2 out of 5.
Gulberg Tandoor & Donair Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

El Ranchito Family Mexican Restaurant - Lynden, Washington

Many years ago in a past life, I was a regular at El Ranchito. It was a go-to for Mexican eats as it was on my regular route and served decent chow. Visiting was a little bit of a trip down memory lane as we found ourselves both hungry and in the neighbourhood.
El Ranchito is family run and not part of a chain and they do some things very well. We were welcomed, seated right away and served complimentary tortilla chips and salsas.
The chips are obviously fried in house, maybe not 2 minutes before we got there but they still had the nice flavour and texture that you don't get from a commercial chip. Served with a tasty pico de gallo and an ever so slightly spicy red sauce.
OK so we weren't hugely adventurous. A three item combo with a tamale, an enchilada and a chile relleno. The tamale was made in house which always impresses me. If you saw my less than stellar attempt at tamales recently posted on Instagram, you would know why I respect that. The relleno was of the more omelette like variety and was very light and tasty. We've all had rice and refried beans before and these were what we expect, warm and comforting.
The Two Floutas Combination came with sour cream and guacamole. Just fried and with a generous helping of shredded beef. We made room for dessert especially as Marie loves churros!
These were not drowned in sugar which we liked. There was however whipped cream, chocolate sauce and ice cream so you could each your churro as sweet as you cared to, right up to the diabetic coma level. Speaking of which, we also had the Deep Fried Ice Cream dessert.
On television food shows, people are always in wonder at the concept of deep-fried ice cream but its really not that complicated. They don't fry it for 20 minutes, so melting ice cream is not really an issue. It was a surprisingly large ball of ice cream, a sweet crispy coating and similarly whipped creamed and chocolate sauced. Served in a deep fried tortilla bowl. Nice! El Ranchito hasn't changed much lo these many years. That must mean that they are doing something right! 
Comfortable with decor a little on the loud side. I like the advertising on the table although it creates a difficult backdrop for food photos! Still, I am sure to give Mt Baker Roofing a call soon! Friendly folks and efficient service!
For what it's worth, we give El Ranchito 3 1/2 out of 5.
El Ranchito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawkers Delight

I have not been in probably 20 years yet the mere mention of Hawker's Delight makes my mouth water. In thinking back, this may be where I discovered wonderful laksa. Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine, in a casual setting on Main Street near King Ed, is almost all you need to know about this place! Well, you should also know that there is only one dish on the menu over $10.
We had to order the previously mentioned laksa.
There are some dishes where I completely defer to my partner, Marie's opinion and laksa is one of them. If her eyes brighten at the first tastes, I know we have a winner and that was the case here. We've had a lot of this wonderful coconut curry soup and this was some of the best. Rich and coconutty broth, noodles with just a bit of chew, and a nice selection of tofu puffs, fish cake and vegetables and $10 buys you lunch!
I was a little confused by the Gado Gado. It arrived warm, steaming in fact. I'm not an expert but I have always had this salad at room temp or cooler. We had arrived just after noon so maybe the vegetables had just been cooked and had not had time too cool. That might also explain why the bowl was a bit soupy at the bottom. Still, it was tasty and I am not sorry that we ordered it. Lots of vegetables, hard boiled egg, tofu and an excellent peanut sauce.
Finally, we tried the Curry Lamb with Rice. This is the only item that is over $10 ($15.25) on the menu but was well worth it. A generous quantity of tender lamb and a pleasant rich low-level spicy sauce. We ended up taking all of this home and having it for lunch the next day!
Hawkers Delight is not fancy. Order at the counter and your food gets delivered to your table. Fetch your own water or tea in plastic glasses. The staff is efficient and not unfriendly but they aren't chatty either. 
For what it's worth, we give Hawker's Delight 4 1/2 out of 5!

Hawker's Delight Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aldergrove Indian Bistro

My recent proposal to turn Aldergrove into a Barkerville style theme park, owing to the surprising percentage of empty store fronts, has not been met with much enthusiasm. This despite my volunteering to personally play the old timey electrician complete with straw hat and sleeve garters, demonstrating fun with knob and tube electrical installations. Other attractions would include 'The Big Mall That Has Sat Abandoned For Years Dragging Down Local Property Values'!
It seems some folks have not given up on this place and so we have the recent opening of Aldergrove Indian Bistro.
The owners are enthusiastic and optimistic, a necessity as this is the third restaurant to occupy this space (including the very decent Lucky Fried Chicken) since I moved to Aldergrove just about 5 years ago. We showed up on a Saturday afternoon to find the newly opened spot has been nicely decorated with a larger dining room including comfortable booths and a few chairs and tables. We started with what has recently become one of our favourite snacks, Chaat Papri.
We love the crunchy roti like crackers with assorted tamarind and coriander chutneys and yoghurt. 
We both had lunch specials. There are four lunch specials offered at between $9 and $11 and are decent deals. Marie had the Butter Chicken and declared it the perfect dish. High praise indeed as this is her favourite Indian dish.
Both lunch specials came with Basmati rice and a nice little green salad, not to mention, very good naan.I had the Curry Lamb plate.
This was also very good. Both dishes had a generous amount of tender meat.
You know what naan looks like. This was nicely tandoor toasted with little charred bits that we really like. On another visit, so as to get a clear feel for the place, I tried their Fish Pakora.
A very attractive arrangement arrived and was very good! The fish was beautifully cooked under the crisp but fairly light batter and accompanied by a tasty coriander chutney.
I also tried the Lamb Keema Naan. Again nicely charred naan but with a thin filling of minced lamb and spices and accompanied by butter sauce. This also made me very happy! 
I am convinced that the folks here have no intention of standing still now that the restaurant is open. Our host told us about some of the changes that they intend to continue making to improve the space. Their web site tells a story about some people who are serious about good food.
We now have 2 pretty decent Indian restaurants in Aldergrove. I see no reason why they shouldn't both thrive!
Despite just opening, for what its worth, we give Aldergrove Indian Bistro 4 out of 5.
Aldergrove Indian Bistro 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...