JAV's Kaldero

JAV's Kaldero is a little Filipino place that is Guildford Mall adjacent and has very bad timing (opened January of 2020) but has survived probably due to serving some very decent eats.

They have a reasonably priced all-you-can-eat option but in these days of take-out only, we chose a few items from their a la carte menu. Pick-up was at their restaurant located at 101 and 152 just behind Wendy's and their inexplicably long drive-through line up.
We started with the Grilled Liempo with Rice combo. I should have taken my photo from a different angle so that you could see that it was not all rice. There was a nice portion of fatty tasty grilled pork belly and one thing that I have learned is that Filipino cuisine does good things (like other Asian cuisines) with pork belly. Like many Filipino dishes, it comes with vinegar which very nicely cuts through the richness.
Next up was Combo E which was only $25. It includes Pork Sisig, Tortang Talong, rice for 2 and 2 cans of pop. The sisig was frankly amazing. Fatty and rich most of the time, this version was almost luxurious and Mharie (more of an expert than I) agreed that it was some of the best that we have had. Always rich and filling, it was a generous portion (you don't need much) that lasted us quite a few meals.
Tortang Talong is one of my favourite Filipino dishes. An eggplant, butterflied I guess you would say, with a fluffy omelet mix of eggs and sauteed, it is on the lighter side. This one was very well done.
At some point in the near future, many of you will enjoy the experience of lining up at Jolibee, the iconic Filipino fast-food restaurant, for fried chicken. That place is known for its chicken, Filipino spaghetti, palabok, and a few other treats. JAV's has taken a run at the fried chicken and spaghetti and has done a pretty decent job. The chicken was crispy and moist but not 100% of Jolibee (which I have to say is top-notch). Their spaghetti is, however, impressive enough that Mharie gives it top marks and wants to order it for an upcoming family wedding (10 attending in total!). Not pictured due to my own carelessness, Filipino spaghetti is not what you expect (a little on the sweet side) but I urge you to try it with an open mind at least once. 
JAV's is a smallish independently, family-run sort of place that cranks out some very good Filipino eats (and we try to hit all the Filipino places). Check out their take-out menu and instead of lining up at Wendy's, expand your palate and try something new.
Food                    4 out of 5
Comfort               NA
Service                4 out of 5
Value                   4 out of 5
JAVS Kaldero Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

And Dough Japanese Bakehouse

After seeing some tasty-looking treats on the gram (is that still what the kids are calling it these days?), we decided to give And Dough Japanese Bakehouse a try. Ordering is by DM and you can pay by e-transfer (not much need for us to handle filthy cash these days, is there?) then schedule a pickup! The locations for pick up are either downtown, in Coquitlam, or in Surrey. They post the schedule and I believe pick up is always on Sunday. No problem! We decided to order one of everything on the menu! 

When we met and picked up our goodies, they told us that after getting all the orders for a given week, they spend roughly 3 days making everything from scratch including the Japanese Curry (don't we all have a box of Japanese curry in our pantry?).
When we got home our first project was to carefully unwrap all the Onigiri and slice them in half to give an idea of what they were about (made sharing easier also). Of the 6, Mharie's favourite was the beef , while I liked the kombu (smokey... almost tobaccoey?). In this picture, you are also looking at Kaarage fried chicken and tomago. My mouth is watering as I am writing about these comforting little bites.
The final 2 were tuna and Japanese plum. I loved the tart plum taste.
We carefully followed directions which meant preheating our oven to 450 degrees to warm the curry buns. Cutting these in half was not as inspired a move as with the Onigiri but really, it's about what's inside, isn't it? And what was inside was delicious! Curried beef and curried beef with a soft boiled egg are the two that they offer! Heating them gave them just a bit of crispiness on the outside! 
The only mistake we made was to not order more. Ordering one of everything only cost us $30 altogether. 
To be honest, their Instagram pics are better than mine but go there because you can learn some more interesting facts about their product. We are impressed with their entrepreneurial spirit and suggest you all take note of when they are taking orders and give them a try.

Little Devil's Wood Fired Pizza - Vancouver Foodster's Best Pizza Challenge

We're not going to get very far on this particular challenge, especially since Dr. B.H. is encouraging us not even to leave our boroughs at this time. I felt a little guilty as we crossed the Fraser into South Vancouver but I have a weakness for wood-fired pizza and the idea of it coming from a truck was too much for me.

And what a truck it is! You can imagine that a vehicle has to be a bit of a beast to carry around a wood-burning pizza oven, the weight of which, I could not even guess at. But that is what is necessary to crank out pizza like this!
We ordered their Best Pizza Challenge entry, the Vancouver Special and tried it sitting on the grass in the shade nearby. The key here is to experience the crust as quickly as possible after it emerges from the 850-degree oven. They take some serious pride in the pie crust starting with 00 flour and giving it time to double rise over many hours. The result shows as it has some crispiness and chew that we loved. For some reason, the Vancouver Special has pineapple on it but in subtle very thin pieces rather than big dole chunks which is brilliant. Crispy prosciutto is in crumbles which is also nice. Finally some garlic and chilli and Fior di Latte to complete the picture. Subtle and thin-crusted without being the usual Hawaiian pizza that kicks you in the teeth, we give this one full marks.
The Meat and Mushroom had the same wonderful crust but with some larger pieces of the crispy prosciutto which allowed you a little more of the 'cure' taste. This is another tomato sauce based pizza but this time with mozzarella and it made us equally happy. So much is about the crust and not getting carried away on the toppings!
I love a good Caprese and this one came with peppery arugula in addition to the basil. We liked that arrangement and the decent chunks of bocconcini.
We don't do a lot of desserts but this was another chance to try their impressive pizza dough but with a little cinnamon and sugar on top. It turned out to be another good choice. You want to get into this while it's hot or follow the reheating instructions provided on their pizza boxes.
They have some decent prices ($13 to $15) on the pizza and they are quite a treat. Watch for them and check for updates on Instagram.
Food                    4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort               NA
Service                 4 out of 5
Value                    4 out of 5

Little Devil's Wood Fire Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicko Chicken

I feel like there can never be too many Korean fried chicken joints! Rib and Chicken right next door to Chicko Chicken in Langley might be inclined to disagree with me. The good news is that both businesses seem to be killing it with several outlets each.

Located just north of Fraser Highway on 206th, Chicko Chicken is basically a one-trick pony (it is a good trick) compared to their neighbours who have a little more variety on their menu. On the upside, although CC only does chicken, they seem to do it very well. These days I feel the need to rate a restaurant's online ordering systems in addition to food. The limitation to CC's ordering system is that you can only place the order while they are open (at some places you can even order days in advance with a specific time for pick up).

We tried the Padak Padak which is basically their original fried chicken with a mess of spring onions served on top! I'm not sure what has made this dish so popular other than the nice contrast between the rich chicken and the refreshing light spring onions. Recipes for padak padak included a vinaigrette to be spooned over the top but this version didn't come with that. Still, really good presumably double-fried chicken.
We also got a half and half order with Soy Garlic and Yangyeom. You are given your choice of bone-in or boneless and we ordered all as bone-in because frankly, boneless is just lazy. Both were very tasty and we are big fans of gochujang (I use it way too much cooking at home). The chicken itself was nicely crispy yet moist, just what you are hoping for.
Again, pickled radishes provide a nice contrast to the richness of the chicken.
Chicko Chicken has a small dining room with room for a few tables when that becomes a thing again. Prices are just what you'd expect; $12.50 for most half orders. The service was very friendly with the chef coming forward to offer us a big hello when we were picking up our order!
Food                4 out of 5
Comfort           It will probably be good someday     
Service            4 out of 5
Value               4 out of 5

Chicko Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy Singh Street Eats

I started seeing signs that work was underway on Happy Singh Street Eats months ago and somehow I knew even then that I was going to love it! Located at the corner of Scott Road and Nordell Way, this is not a small little take-out joint but a sizeable restaurant with a decent-sized covered patio which is important right now as dining is closed to all but take-out and patio service. If you are reading this 10 years in the future, Google COVID 19 pandemic (if Google is still a thing).

We placed our order online and it was almost ready on time. I didn't mind the short wait as it gave us time to explore a bit plus you know stuff was being made fresh. The menu here is endless. I recommend ordering online where you can take time and not feel pressured and you can actually place your order for pickup days in advance! You can also order at a couple of terminals just inside the door but seriously, there is a lot to choose from and if you are in any way indecisive, a line will form. I understand that under normal conditions, you would then pick up your order from the different appropriate stations but right now take-out is all picked up in one place. So we picked up our order and found ourselves a picnic table since it was a beautiful spring day.
We started with chaat but one we hadn't tried before. Samosa Chana Chaat actually had pieces of samosa along with chickpeas, onions, spices and all. It was a little filling and rich all by itself and could easily be a main dish. On the sweet side maybe just a bit and a little spicy. Tasty Indian food.
Cheese Pao Bhaji is a new one for us. It comes ready to assemble, toasted buttery buns, a vegetable stew of sorts covered in cheese with onions, tomato and cilantro for topping. It becomes a messy sandwich or half-bun if you like but it was full of flavour.
HSSE not only serves the northern Indian foods that we are most familiar with but some south Indian dishes also. We are mad for dosa, the large thin crepe that is filled with whatever you like but we really find that fresh off the griddle is the best way to have it. That being said, the take-out version of the Masala Dosa was very successful! We both noticed that the filling portion was generous and tasty. We liked that it was cut in half and crisscrossed in the takeout container. This was better than the square folded version that we have had and more practical than the map tube that I have suggested. Served with coconut chutney and sambar, we highly recommend this!
Rajma Masala is a tasty dish of moderately spicy red beans. Like a good vegetarian chilli but with Indian spices.
If you are interested in blowing your own head off, order some fried chillies on the side. We ate one each! We also had Boondi Raita and Stuffed Kulcha bread which were tasty enough but I am running a little long here and I want to show you a couple of pics of the restaurant interior.
Malpuha is an Indian sweet that we have never had but we loved it. Starting with a small pancake that is deep-fried crispy and then sauced with sugar syrup with some subtle cardamom flavouring, this is not quite as diabetes-inducing as some Indian desserts.
HSSE is a sleek modern place with an open kitchen and multiple serving stations where you will pick up your order once they are open for dining in.
I am not sure what the patio hours are but it appears to be comfortable enough and divided from the parking lot enough that run-away cars will not be a problem. Once again, we are keen on the online ordering system and intend to do some more systematic exploring of their extensive menu. You know, we didn't set out to eat vegetarian today it just worked out that way. So that's good, isn't it?
Food                        3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                   4 out of 5   (nice patio)
Service                    3 out of 5 (almost on time)
Value                       3 1/2 out of 5

Happy Singh Street Eats Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Gaoh

As I am fond of saying, there is little that approaches ramen on a cold rainy early spring day. We started the day with the idea of looking for cherry blossoms and ended up seeking warmth and shelter. We visited Ramen Gaoh before the circuit breaker shut down so don't be alarmed by the dine-in photos!
Located in Burnaby at Hastings and Willingdon, RG is related to Ramen Butcher so that assured us that we were in for something good. Don't forget to put your name on the list when you arrive. We've been to a few places with this system where there is no indication beyond your own intuition (or another person waiting and willing to tell you) that you need to do this. The wait was brief enough and we were seated socially distant from our neighbours.
We started with a Mini Cha-Tama Don. It is a rice bowl with some soft scrambled eggs and chashu. It was one of those legendary comforting dishes along the lines of oyakodon. It was served with some seaweed to sprinkle over the top. This was a very nice side dish.
We ordered one of our main dishes as a combo that came with gyoza and rice. The gyoza were tasty with a nice sear on one side and soft steaminess on the other.
I have become a Black Garlic Ramen guy and find it hard to resist when it is on the menu. This was rich and garlicky and definitely not for a first date. There was a decent amount of nicely seared chasu. The noodles here are house-made and have a very nice texture and chew. You aren't given a bunch of options (which drives me crazy) they just cook them correctly. This was an excellent bowl of soup.
Mharie has become fond of Tsukem. The noodles and broth come separately and you dip your noodles as you go along. Curiously, I don't see this on the online menu but I can assure you that they have it. What is more, it came with the Kaarage chicken option. There was a generous portion of really tasty chicken lot of noodles and bamboo shoots and nice rich broth. Another hit as far as we were concerned. 
There is not a lot of room here once pandemic limits are applied (a couple of tables out on the patio in addition to what you see here), and less now that take out and patio only rules apply. The servers were very nice and the kitchen seems efficient. There are a lot of menu options as far as ramen is concerned including some vegan choices.
Food                         4 out of 5
Comfort                    4 out of 5
Service                     4 1/2 out of 5
Value                        4 out of 5
Ramen Gaoh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tacomio - Birria Tacos again!

This obsession with birria tacos is turning out to be an enjoyable and rewarding pastime. Rewarding in addition to the tasty tacos themselves is the part where we visit Mexican food joints that we may never have gotten to otherwise (so many eateries, so little time) and enjoy the other surprises that they have for us on their menus. Tacomio in Strathcona is a pickup window only carefully hidden in the industrial area just south of Strathcona Park. Call your order in and they will have it ready for you when you arrive.

As always our first stop was the Quesabirria. Tacomio's version is 2 tacos for $12 so pretty well in line price-wise with most that we have tried.
The most redeeming qualities here are the crispy fried tortillas and the generosity of the protein portion which was nicely tender slow-cooked beef. The broth was very good but not our number one (out of 5 so far). I wish there had been more cheese but these were really very good overall 
What were also startlingly good was their Wild Pacific Cod Baja Tacos. These were darkly coloured but from nicely seasoned oil and not overcooking. The result is that rich fish and chips flavour but with a nice slaw, chipotle mayo and pico de gallo. Excellent!

Tacos Dorado was a new thing for us. The simple filling starts with Mexican-style potatoes that is rounded out with cabbage, pico, sour cream and guac. They came as a quartet for $12 which seems like a good deal. They were nicely crispy on the outside in contrast to the soft potato filling.
The Grilled Al Pastor Wings were a treat also. These were some tasty wings with grilled pineapple, red onion, cilantro and very good salsa. 
I spent  $10 on a bottle of their house-made hot sauce. I will never open it but it makes kind of a cool souvenir since I like their logo. I could have saved the $10 and carefully peeled the sticker off of the bag that the food came in and stuck it on my laptop. There are 2 other locations of Taco Mio where we will be able to dine in when things open up again.
Food                4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort           Take out only at this location
Service            4 out of 5 (almost on time)
Value               4 out of 5

Taco Mio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bombay Masala Restaurant - Vanfoodster's Curry Challenge

So suddenly we are under more serious COVID 19 restrictions. Dining in is suspended for the time being unless a restaurant has outdoor seating but take out is still permitted. Up until now, we have been comfortably dining in with appropriate precautions wherever it has been allowed and with no great concern. That being said, we have confidence in the decisions that Dr. Henry is making on our behalf. She has been looking after us from the beginning of this thing to the extent that it is possible and based on the most current science. Still, we want to do our best to support local restaurants as much as we can and will do so by ordering take-out and occasionally dining on a patio. Of course, as far as Vanfoodster's Curry Challenge is concerned, our pictures of take-out will be a little less impressive than the dine-in versions. What are you gonna do?

Bombay Masala is a bit of a trip out there (for us) near UBC on 10th Avenue a little past Alma. We ordered for take out but they have 3 patio tables available and we could have snared one if we were smart. Still, we did what we have done quite a lot over the last year namely we called in our order, picked it up and drove home.
First and foremost, we made the trek out here to try BM's entry in Vanfoodster's Curry Challenge. We kind of cheated in the picture of the dish. The Nargasi Fish Kofta consisted of 3 cod 'meatballs' in a nutty creamy mild sauce. We did our best with the photo by reassembling the food onto a plate after it had rolled around on the trip home even adding a little bit of green (lame effort). At any rate, it was very tasty and creative. I wouldn't say that it was overflowing with personality as a dish and could have used a hit of something. Admittedly, you can overpower fish very easily.
We ordered a few other dishes including Onion Bhazi. These were a little like spicy flavourful onion rings in convenient ball form! We liked them best when we dipped them in any one of the other dishes such as the Kofta.
We were very impressed with the lunch combos offered here. For only $12 you can have Butter Chicken (or your choice), Aloo Bhaji, rice and naan. All of these dishes were warm and comforting. Where I often complain that butter chicken is more sauce than chicken, this is very much the opposite of that. Very good value.
We ordered Palak Corn which I don't believe that I have ever seen on a menu. This was a rich and deep spinach curry with, obviously, corn. Very nice and vegan!
Our hostess was kind enough to give us a couple of Gulab Jamun for dessert which were delicious.
The menu at BM is varied and there is much that we would like to return and try including vegan selections. It is easy to be a vegetarian at an Indian restaurant but vegan is a little more challenging. The dining room here is warm and inviting and hopefully dining in will come back before long.
Food                    4 out of 5
Comfort               patio is nice but we didn't try it
Service                4 out of 5
Value                   4 out of 5

Bombay Masala Restaurant 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...