One of our favourite things to do together is cook. We love making food together and Sam has recently decided to start meal planning. This has been a huge money saver for us in a couple of different ways:
First, we always know what we’re having and the nights of this conversation are gone:
Sam: What should we have tonight?
Kyle: I don’t know, wanna just order pizza?
Sam: Sounds good to me.
That doesn’t happen anymore because we plan our meals for the week and shop for the week. Plus, every time we make food we always make extra. This way after we make enough food for us two and some for Nixon, we always make sure there is enough left over for both of us to have lunch the next day. Even though we’re usually on cooking for 2 adults, we always cook as though we’re 4 adults, that way we guarantee leftovers.
It’s no secret that eating out is one of the easiest ways to spend money. We all do it, spend $10 on lunch a couple times a week here, a few dollars on a snack there, but it adds up. If you can cook leftovers and take that for the lunch the next day along with a piece of fruit or veggies and another snack, you should be good to go for the day until you get home for dinner to do it all over again.
This has been a huge money saver for us and while we still do eat out on occasion, we at least know what day it is and usually where we’re going rather than scrambling and settling on pizza every time.
What have you found to be a big money saver in regard to food?
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 6/104316 Main St, Vancouver, BC(604) 875-9866
7 Days A Week 4pm – 1 am
After our amazing night at Ogenki Sushi we saw that we had another Japanese restaurant coming up, Simply Delicious, and were curious how they would compare. Though not the most Japanese name for a sushi restaurant, it was clear by their menu that they were. They describe themselves as a lounge type restaurant serving up casual Japanese fare. By the vibe we got from the place this seems very accurate.
Simply Delicious was laid out unlike any restaurant we’ve ever seen on this journey thus far. After climbing the steep staircase to get to the restaurant, you see that the tables are lined up parallel to each other across the whole restaurant. It was like a big picnic with these tables all touching each other and running parallel to one another. It was very unique and seemed to work for them although we’re not sure how private it would feel having your meal here. If they seat groups beside each other we felt like it would feel intrusive being so close to the next party and take away from any private moments you wanted to have with your group. If they’re going for the casual lounge experience where people are often standing and mingling then this doesn’t seem like it would be a problem, however, if your group wants any sort of privacy this seems like it would be a big turn off. One last thing about the layout of the interior, the patio seemed like it was the best part of this place; it looks right out onto Main Street and it was covered which is nice for all the rain we get. They also had a cool little bar height table outside their front door that gave it a cool casual feel before you even entered which we though was a nice touch.
We ordered take out from them and the service was excellent. We were told it would be ready within 15-20 minutes and when we arrived 15 minutes later our order was ready. The lady who gave us the food was friendly and happy to allow us to take some photos before we left. There wasn’t anything she could have done differently to make us feel better about the short moment we encountered with their service.
Simply Delicious does not have an updated website, there is one from years ago but it is very old and has no menu on it, so the best we could find was this menu from a Yelp review.
The food was good. Not great, not terrible, just good. If we had to compare it to Ogenki, it’s not even close but it definitely wasn’t the worst Japanese food we’ve ever had. We ordered the following:
- Spicy Tuna Roll
- Assorted Tempura
- Chicken Teriyaki
- Crispy Crunch Roll
As we mentioned last week we prefer the tuna in our Spicy Tuna Roll to be marinated in the spicy sauce rather than just have the sauce poured on top as this was. The amount of sauce on this roll was almost too much and that’s coming from people who love sauce. Note, we said almost. The other thing we didn’t like about the Spicy Tuna Roll was that it was made maki style. We prefer our rolls to be uramaki style, in fact this was the first time we have ever had a Spicy Tuna Roll maki style. As you can see from the picture, this roll is just rice, seaweed, tuna, and sauce. In our experience, there is usually something else in the roll, most of the times something green like avocado or cucumber. This roll didn’t have that and it left it feeling cheap. It tasted fine but was nothing memorable.
The tempura was solid. The crunch of the outside was, well, crunchy, as it should be. There were, however, two issues with the tempura: first, one of the vegetable selections was avocado. This was the first time we’ve ever seen avocado in a tempura and while we both love avocado it was basically just a mush when we tried to eat it which was unfortunate. It seemed like an odd choice to us because this seems like it would be expected if you deep fry avocado. Second, there were big pieces of tempura that were fish. The fact that they were fish was not the problem, the problem was that the fish portion sizes were massive. Most of us can usually eat a piece of tempura in about 3 bites, right? Well, this fish tempura as as if it had been taken off an entree order and battered with tempura. It was way too big which threw off the batter/fish ratio and it was full of bones. The other vegetables pieces of tempura were excellent but the fish and avocado not so much.
The gyozas were the second best tasting thing we had all night but they too had an issue. The filling, which is why we order gyozas, was severely lacking; what filling there was tasted excellent but the outside/inside ratio was way off in favour of the outside. But again, the taste was excellent which made the lack of filling that much more disappointing.
The chicken teriyaki was the most disappointing thing we ordered. The chicken itself was seasoned and cooked well but the teriyaki sauce was non existent. Usually with a dish like this there is a decent amount of sauce that you can actually see. Well, in the photo above you can’t see anything really. It looks like a very mild glaze if anything. With a dish like this we usually have sauce running off onto the rice below. Look at that rice, it’s bare. This was extremely disappointing as chicken teriyaki is such an easy thing to do well. The salad that came with it was delightful though.
The bright spot of the meal was the Crispy Crunch Roll. It had the perfect amount of crunch and spice on the outside to compliment the filling on the inside. Every bite was delicious and this is the best thing we ate all meal.
In terms of value, this place was a little low on value in our opinion. The total bill for the 5 dishes came to about $40. If we say each dish is about $8 on average then, I think we can see it’s a little bit overpriced. We ordered two spicy tuna rolls and each one only came with 6 pieces, for $4 per roll on average, that’s high especially since there was nothing else in the roll. $8 for a specialty roll like the Crispy Crunch Roll is fine as that was our favourite dish, but $8 for 5 gyozas seems high to us especially since the filling was lacking. $8 for assorted tempura which only gave us 5 pieces total? Yeah that seems high too. And then $8 for an order of chicken teriyaki seems fine but again the sauce was an issue. If everything tasted as we expected it should have then we may have had less of an issue with it, but we would not be happy to pay that price for these dishes again.
Simply Delicious is probably a place we wouldn’t sit down with the kids as it does have a very lounge like feeling where kids usually aren’t the most welcomed. In the end, we were happy this was a take out restaurant for that reason. There were also no high chairs in sight and, though we didn’t expect one, no kid’s menu.
Though the service was extremely friendly and welcoming, the food did not live up to any expectation. We would be more than happy to walk a few steps down the street and get our Japanese food at Ogenki. If we had to return we would definitely order the Crispy Crunch Roll again but wouldn’t be very excited for anything else.
Have you been to Simply Delicious? What was your experience with the restaurant and food?
Food 5/10 – everything had an issue with it except the Crispy Crunch Roll
Service 9/10 – the short encounter we had with the server was pleasant and without issue
Kid friendliness 2/10 – no high chairs or kid’s menu and in a lounge-like setting we would avoid bringing the kids here to sit down
Decor 8/10 – a cool vibe and all the wood tabletops were very neat
Value 6/10 – overpriced for the quality of food
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 9/104342 Main St, Vancouver, BC604-875-9975Monday 11:00am – 9:30pmTuesday 11:00am – 9:30pmWednesday 11:00am – 9:30pmThursday 11:00am – 9:30pmFriday 11:00am – 10:00pmSaturday 11:30am – 10:00pmSunday 11:30am – 9:30pmSushi is the one thing our family can eat any day of the week and any time of the day. Lucky for us, we live in one of the best cities for quality sushi in the world. Ogenki Sushi lived up to the Vancouver sushi hype.Originally we were supposed to go to Shameful Tiki Room, but they were reserved well in advance and are not kid friendly so we will go another time when we can go without kids and make a reservation. The place looks very cool inside so we’re excited to go.Back to the sushi. Ogenki Sushi looks small from the street but it is two storefronts together to make it bigger. There are a total of maybe 10 tables in the whole restaurant but the kitchen was going the whole time we were there presumably for take out and delivery. They offer their own delivery for $3 (within 3km and $25 min purchase) and also use SkiptheDishes, Foodora and JustEat.We were sat in the corner with half bench half chair seating. Ogenki has a large menu like most sushi restaurants around town. They also have special lunch and dinner menus. (Scroll to the end of the menu in the link to see them.) These menus offer a great variety for an affordable price and is what we ordered when we went.We were quickly served tea and soon made our order. We ordered:Dinner Special – Spicy Tuna Roll, Chicken Teriyaki on Rice, GyozaAssorted TempuraCustom Poke Bowl – Spicy Tuna, Edamame, Wasabi Peas, Cilantro, Pineapple, Avocado (+$1), Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, White RiceOgenki recently added a Poke menu that you can customize or order from their set poke selections. We made a custom one and ordered a large (three scoops of protein) for $14.95 ($13.95 plus $1 avocado).The above photo is what our table looked like after getting our dinner order and before our poke bowl. All of this was very quick to come to our table as things usually are at sushi restaurants we find. There was nothing on this table that we would complain about. Even the salad, which we usually skip, was tasty. The gyozas were nice and crispy on the outside with well cooked pork filling on the inside and a nice sauce to add that little bit more. The tempura was crunchy on the outside with soft veggies on the inside as it should be. The chicken teriyaki on rice was just as we expected it to be, chicken with teriyaki sauce on white rice, pretty hard to screw that one up and they didn’t. The miso soup started our meal off nicely. The spicy tuna roll, a particular favourite of our family was excellent. Typically we prefer when the tuna itself it tossed in the spicy sauce, this tuna wasn’t but for whatever reason it didn’t bother us like it usually does. The tuna tasted fresh and the sauce had the right amount of kick to it to fire up your taste buds.Once the poke bowl came we were pretty full and this bowl was huge! Determined to finish everything we went to work on it. It wasn’t hard to finish this beast because it was so delicious. If you look at what we put into it it was a pretty bis mishmash of ingredients but somehow they worked together beautifully. The corn and cucumber gave a good crunch, the pineapple gave a nice sweetness, the spicy sauce gave some kick and together with the rest of the ingredients everything came together to make an extremely tasty poke bowl that we would eat again right now if we could.The prices were not bad at all either. Our whole meal, before tip and tax came to about $40. Considering how stuffed we were when we left we figured that was excellent value for what we got.The restaurant was excellent with the kids, too. They had many high chairs which they brought right away along with a booster seat for Nixon to sit on the bench with me. They brought Nixon his own little water and whenever that happens we know that the restaurant knows how to deal with kids well. The other guests in the restaurant were very welcoming to a family with kids joining their section and overall we felt very welcomed in the restaurant with the boys in tow.The one negative would be the service. While the service was good, it was infrequent, we had to ask for more drink twice between them taking our order and them clearing our plates. We wished they had come back to check in on us.There are many more sushi and Japanese restaurants along the route in the coming months but Ogenki definitely set the bar high.
Food 9.5/10 – sushi is best fresh and nothing on our plates felt like it wasn’t
Service 7.5/10 – they took great care of the kids and were prompt with their service. Would like them to come check in on us more often
Kid friendliness 9/10 – excellent service to the kids, had high chairs and booster seats
Decor 7.5/10 – pretty typical for a sushi restaurant with light coloured wood everywhere
Value 8.5/10 – no issue with any of the prices and the combos provide excellent valueNever stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 6.5/104444 Main St, Vancouver, BC604-874-7114Sunday 9:00am – 12:00am
Saturday 9:00 am–1:00am
We’ve started to get into the “good” area of Main Street now. We put good in quotations because many restaurants so far have been good but most people consider Main Street to really get good the further you go north.
Chaise is an interesting restaurant with a very pub-like feel to it; so much so, that when we opened the door we had to ask if they were 19+ or not. They’re not, but this was the least kid friendly place we’ve been to so far. It really felt like not many kids go there and once you’re in you understand why. All the tables in the first two thirds of the restaurants are high top bar tables with stools, not ideal for kids, and then there is a small section at the back with tables and one booth.
For a Friday afternoon at lunch time it was quite busy. It seemed like a popular spot to stop in at lunch time for a brew and a bite. There were many tables with two people doing just that.
We sat ourselves at the only booth in the restaurant as to keep the kids in and prevent them from running around too much. They had no booster seats or high chairs which made things a little bit more difficult since we recently moved Vanek out of his bucket car seat that he outgrew so we now have to carry him and seat him with us. We made it work but it definitely wasn’t ideal.
We were quickly greeted by our server who took drink orders and gave us menus. They serve brunch until 3pm which is the first place we’ve come across that does that. We didn’t see anyone having a late brunch but we definitely considered it.
The menu is pretty large if you consider the brunch menu as well. The restaurant has many “pub grub” options on the menu as that seems to be their style; it also happens to be a style that we quite enjoy.
My eyes went straight to the Jerk Chicken Flat Bread but as soon as I mentioned that to Sam, she said she wanted the Meatetarian Flat Bread, I think we ended up making the wrong choice but we’ll get to that. I then decided between the Pierogi Burger and the Moroccan Wrap. In the end, we ordered the Moroccan Wrap and the Meatetarian Flat Bread.
The Meatetarian Flat Bread was okay at best. To be blunt, it tasted like a glorified Bagel Bite. Remember those? Those were my favourite after school snack growing up. The sauce was kind of flavourless and the toppings were okay. The best bites were the bites where you go the chorizo but there didn’t seem to be too much chorizo on there.
The Moroccan Wrap on the other hand was a hit. I loved it. One thing I hate about wraps is when you get halfway through eating it and it starts to fall apart. This wrap was tightly packed and wrapped properly so that the whole thing stayed together the entire time. That’s a win right there. The flavours were excellent as well. I love tzatziki and there was just the right amount of it in the wrap. Due to the garlic in the tzatziki it is very easy for it to overpower a dish if not portioned properly. Chaise nailed it though. The garlic from the tzatziki was just what this dish needed to compliment the couscous and other veggies. The tzatziki also provided a nice cold contrast to the heated up wrap. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the whole wrap was delicious.
Our service was okay. Not great by any means. Our server was often slow to come back to our table. The best thing she did was bring Nixon his own water in a small glass. We didn’t ask for it but it was greatly appreciated because we both like lemon in ours and Nixon likes his plain so it’s not ideal for him to share with us. Other than that, the service felt standoffish. We felt like because we were there with kids we weren’t important for some reason. Even once we had paid at the end, the server never came back to tend to the machine or offer us our copy of the receipt so we just left.
The value was okay as well. The wrap and the flat bread were fairly priced but the mains seem quite expensive. We didn’t order them so we can’t speak to the quality or portion size but hopefully both are on the better side at prices over $20. For a pub style restaurant that seemed high in our opinion. Our meals were fair though.
As we mentioned earlier, the kid friendliness was the lowest we’ve seen so far. Other than the server bringing Nixon his own water there was nothing for the kids. No high chair, booster seat or kids menu. Although we weren’t expecting a kids menu here.
In the end, we probably wouldn’t return here, but we’re very curious to see what that Jerk Chicken Flat Bread tastes like.
Food 7/10 – one lame flat bread and one excellent wrap
Service 5/10 – fair, we didn’t get much attention and weren’t valued customers
Kid friendliness 1/10 – the server was kind enough to bring Nixon his own water but since it’s basically a pub so we weren’t expecting much and this score will not be included in our overall score of Chaise
Decor 7.5/10 – wooden pub style, done well but nothing special
Value 7/10 – the mains seemed to be overpriced but we didn’t try them, our meals were fairly priced
Never stop adventuring!
Our time in Bali has almost come to an end and we have loved every minute of it! (Missed our kids a little, though). This country is amazing; it is so beautiful and so warm. Every day has been about 25-30C and overcast with a few sunny days here and there, it is there rainy season after all. We’ve got to enjoy three areas of Bali so far and we’ve quickly learned to adapt to the ways of the island. Here’s what we’ve learned about Bali in our time here:
Bali is an island in Indonesia
This one seems obvious but so many people think that Bali is its own country, it’s not. It is one of the islands in Indonesia of which there are many.
Never go out without a rain jacket
The weather here is so crazy that it can change any second. One minute you can be driving down the road in blue skies and all of a sudden you’re stuck in torrential downpour and that is exactly what happened to us. One afternoon we were driving through the north of Bali to check out some temples and it was a normal overcast day until we started gaining elevation, once we were done climbing all of a sudden the skies opened up and unleashed on us. Since my brother had been here a while already, he was aware of the weather here and made sure we grabbed our jackets that morning. We quickly pulled over and threw our jackets on which saved us from being drenched the rest of the day. Luckily, the rain never lasts long here and even when it does rain it is still incredibly warm out. That being said, bring a jacket because nobody enjoys spending the day in wet clothing.
The country is very religious
Hinduism is the dominant religion here and it has taken over the entire island. You can’t drive down a street here and not see some sort of hindu temple, decor or shrine. It is literally everywhere. Temples line the streets for blocks in some areas. Many of the old temples that you will visit as tourists don’t seem to be used as places of worship anymore and now are just for the tourists to look at and enjoy and the local temples you see when driving through town are where the locals go to worship.
At our first AirBnB we stayed at, each morning outside our front gate the host had incense burning and canang sari (pictured below) as an offering to thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in praise and prayer. We’ve never seen a country so committed to their beliefs than we have here.
At any time of day you can find men and women dressed in their traditional hindu outfits everywhere and the “in use” temples full of people worshipping.
The Balinese commitment to hinduism was very surprising to us as we had no idea hinduism was this dominant and that the people were this committed.
There is always something burning
The Balinese people are pyromaniacs. Kidding, of course, but everywhere you go you smell something burning whether it’s garbage, wood, incense or cigarettes. Driving through a good amount of Bali in the Ubud area this was our reality. You are constantly inhaling smoke which is why a lot of people here wear masks, both locals and tourists.
It just seems to be a way of life over here. We’re not even sure if everyone who smokes here actually smokes or if they’re just doing it to fit in. We’re not kidding when we say we don’t fit in here because we don’t smoke. The locals will sit out front of their shops, smoke and chat all day long.
There are no restrictions on where you can and can’t smoke so it happens everywhere all day long. Restaurants, streets, hotels, beaches, no where is off limits for smoking. For people who don’t smoke like us, you’re stuck with it and you gotta just suck it up. Tourists who smoke love it here because a pack of smokes costs anywhere from $2-4CAD depending on what brand you smoke so people go through multiple packs per day here. Even as we sit here writing this post there is a couple smoking beside us at the pool. At this point, we’re over it, it can stop now, but like we said, we gotta just suck it up because it’s not going away.
You pay for every little thing
You wanna park there? Pay up. You wanna see that waterfall? Pay up. You wanna see that temple? Pay up. You wanna go pee? Pay up. You wanna jump off that cliff into the ocean? Pay each time you jump. You wanna use that beach? Pay up. You wanna swim in the pool? Pay up.
Everyone always talks about how cheap things are here and it’s true, it’s very cheap, most of those things listed above are never more than $5 CAD, but you pay for every little thing all day long and it can add up if you’re travelling on a strict budget.
There are no rules on the road
We’re not sure why they even have lines painted on the roads here because it seems to mean absolutely nothing. On a two lane road the other day cars were driving three abreast. On our way to our current hotel there was a major roundabout with cars 4 wide on a two lane road with motorbikes and scooters filling in the gaps. Even the centre line has no value here and you constantly find yourself travelling into oncoming traffic. It’s just a free for all on the roads here. Blinkers mean nothing, they’re optional, speed limits are non existent, and helmets on scooters are only required for tourists.
Scooters dominate the road
Scooters are the dominant vehicle in this country. It is for an obvious reason though, it’s cheaper. To fill one of the tanks takes only three litres which costs about $3-5CAD. The bike itself will cost about $2,000CAD. Where cars would cost many times that amount it is both easier and cheaper for locals to use them.
They drive wherever they want, though. Whenever a car is stopped at a light, the scooters will fill any gap at the stop line that they can. They will pass cars on either side, even if that means going into oncoming traffic. It is comical, and sometimes scary, to see but we haven’t seen one accident here (even though it seems like one could happen at any second because of how close they get to each other and the cars).
The people are super friendly
The people here are so friendly to the tourists that it really make you feel comfortable. We haven’t once found ourselves scared or worried about our safety. Even walking alone at night feels comfortable.
One time, a friend of Adam’s had his scooter break down and one of the locals came by and fixed it for him and wouldn’t take any money as a thank you. Another friend had his scooter run out of gas and a local pulled over, found out what the problem was, took him to the gas station, paid for his gas, drove him back to his scooter, and filled it up and this guy also wouldn’t take any money as payment or a thank you. They’re genuinely friendly people to talk to and always willing to help.
The price is negotiable
The locals are friendly, but they also know that you’re coming to their country with more money than they have so of course they’re going to try and make you pay. We’ve been very successful in not having to pay the original offered price. Of course when you’re in a restaurant you can’t negotiate the menu price but when you’re buying anything from a vendor or something off the street, you can bargain. We’ve bargained for petrol (gas), scooters, and boat rides amongst other things.
One thing to remember when you’re bargaining is what the local currency converts to in your currency. For us, $1CAD is about equal to 10.000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). In reality it’s about $1CAD to 10.800 IDR but for simplicity sake we just use 10.000 IDR. so when you’re bargaining on scooters and you want to pay 60.000 IDR instead of 70.000 IDR remember you’re only bargaining over $1.
We are sad that our time here is coming to an end but are super grateful we had this opportunity and have made the most of it. We love the people, the beaches, the scenery and the vacation that Bali has offered us and we can’t wait to share the whole trip with you in the coming days as well as our amazing First Class flights here. Stay tuned for many more posts about this trip.
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 9/104298 Main St, Vancouver, BC604-620-0602Sunday 10:00am – 11:00pm
Monday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am–Late
Saturday 10:00 am–Late
Chickpea was not next up on our list but it was the closest restaurant to our next one that was participating in Dine Out Vancouver. We thought trying some restaurants’ Dine Out menus would be a great way to try more of a their menu. Since making that decision, however, we made another decision to go on a last minute trip to Bali so Chickpea will be the only Dine Out menu we get to try. We will resume the order once we get back but due to this trip there will not be another review until the week of February 11.
Let us start out by saying that we are not vegan. If you’ve been following along for any length of time you’ll know we eat meat and we really enjoy it. So, when we decided on a vegan restaurant we must admit we were hesitant. Vancouver is a big hub for vegans and it, from what we understand, has exploded in the last few years with high quality vegan restaurants.
That being said, there was a time about 6 years ago when I, Kyle, had to go on a strict dairy-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free diet for some health issues. Veganism, from our understanding holds to the dairy-free aspect of that diet and the others are personal preference. The dairy-free part of the diet was by far the hardest. I mean c’mon, no cheese?! No milk?! That’s a daily thing my body enjoys. Back in 2012, the dairy-free options were not good, not like we have today. I was having cardboard “cheese” and a sad attempt at mimic dairy products. The almond milk, however, has stuck in my diet ever since. So, with that background, you hopefully understand our hesitancy knowing Chickpea, a vegan restaurant, was where we were headed.
Man, were we wrong. This was probably the best restaurant we’ve eaten at so far. We were absolutely blown away. From the second we entered we knew this was gonna be good. We were welcomed by a very friendly gentleman who made us feel as if he was honoured to seat us. He gave no indication he knew who we were or anything about this journey, he just seemed very happy and one of those people who genuinely enjoys his job. He did tell us it was his first day and it seemed like it was a good one.
We were sat at a table that was under a tree with birdhouses hanging from it. A nice table for 5 since we had my mom with us that day. We were quickly waited on by an awesome girl who took our drink orders and brought us waters.
The Dine Out lunch menu (click the link for the dinner menu also) was straight to the point. 3 options for lunch and since there were 3 of us we each picked one. I got the Chicktea to drink and Chickcheese sandwich, mom got the chocolate almond milk (for Nixon) and the Malawach and Sam got the Limonana and French Toast. We got both of the baklavas for dessert.
First off, we were all fighting a cold this day and the chicktea was perfect. It was essentially just lemon, mint and hot water which was perfect for soothing our colds. The Limonana was frozen lemonade with mint which was amazing and on a hot summer day would be ideal. The chocolate almond milk was a disappointment as it came with ice and was super watered down. Nixon didn’t care though.
We didn’t go here for the drink though. We came for the food. And the food was the bomb. Oh. My. God. This food was so good. Remember, in our minds, vegan food was cardboard crap; this place revived our faith in vegan food. The chickcheese sandwich somehow tasted like it had actual cheese in it; I don’t know how they did it but whatever they did to it was perfect. It had so much flavour and was very filling. It tasted no different than an actual grilled cheese, just with more vegetables than we usually put in our grilled cheese. The salad it came with was a nice refreshing element on the plate also.
Of course we had to all try each others’ dishes. Mom’s malawach could be described as a chickpea burrito. A very generous helping of chickpeas accompanied by many other veggies and spice. By now you know how we feel about spice so this was an excellent dish. She couldn’t finish it so we were more than happy to help her out.
Sam’s french toast was amazing. Obviously they couldn’t use traditional egg wash so as you can see on the menu they just do almond milk and sugar. Having sugar in the wash and no egg leaves for the chance to easily burn the toast, but obviously they’ve done this a time or two before and didn’t burn it. The sautéed bananas were delicious with a nice touch of cinnamon and then the coconut whipped was to die for. No idea what kind of dairy-free cream one would use to make whipped cream but they nailed it.
The baklava was tasty as well and it came with the coconut whipped cream we already loved from Sam’s french toast. To be honest, neither of us could tell the difference between the two, they were both good although if it didn’t come with our meals we probably would have skipped dessert since we were so full from our meals.
The service was great also. Constantly coming by to make sure we were taken care of and our drinks were full.Chickpea is licensed for those of you wanting a more adult beverage. Our food did seem to take longer than usual. Neither of us have ever worked in the restaurant industry but from people we’ve talked to the goal is usually to get the food to the customer within about 20 minutes. We waited just over 30. Other than that we had no service issues.
Chickpea was the first restaurant to really cater to families. As soon as we walked in we saw plenty of mothers with their kids and we could see why. There is a whole corner of the restaurant designed as a play area for kids. There is a table close by so we could see that table getting annoying for customers so we assume Chickpea seats the families at these tables. The mats at the kids area were slightly dirty but that is bound to happen with kids coming in on rainy days. As long as they get washed daily we should see no issue letting your kids play here. There was plenty to do and Nixon had a blast there. When the very happy gentleman sat us at our table he also brought a high chair over.
The Dine Out menu was great and we felt $20 per person was a fine price to pay. Not incredible value but not bad enough to complain especially since the food was amazing.
The decor was super cool. Not a style we would put in our house but a style that gave a cool atmosphere for a restaurant. We don’t even know what you would call the style but we found it really cool.
All in all, this is the first place we are excited to go back to and explore the rest of the menu. We had a great time here and we left with our bellies full.
Food 9.5/10 – everything was delicious, no complaints
Service 9/10 – kind gentleman seated us and the girls who waited on us were great
Kid friendliness 9/10 – best place we’ve been to so far, kids play area was great but kinda dirty which was the -1, had high chairs
Decor 9/10 – nothing special but not terrible
Value 8.5/10 – the Dine Out menu was great, maybe a little high at $20 for lunch but the food was amazing so we can’t complain too much
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 7/104598 Main St, Vancouver, BC(604) 876-6138
Monday – Friday 3:00pm – 12:00am, Saturday/Sunday 10:00am – 12:00am
This week we didn’t have time to go and sit down at a restaurant so we did take out. This is nothing new to anyone and especially now that Skip the Dishes, Foodora and the likes have come to town it has been more popular than ever. On the way back from an appointment Sam picked us up some food from Cottage Bistro. Their menu is very modern with an asian flare.
To be completely honest, I was expecting this place to be a more hipster grub style restaurant. It wasn’t as I soon learned when a kind asian gentleman answered the phone. He graciously took my order and I told him when I would pick it up and he assured me it would be ready by then. Sam was going to pick up the food on her way home but traffic was crazy getting out of downtown. The pickup was schedule for 3:15 and around 3:30 I got a call from Cottage Bistro wondering when the food was going to be picked up. This phone call was appreciated for two reasons: I knew the food was ready at my requested time and the owner cared enough to confirm that his customer would get his food. Since we weren’t going to be in the restaurant to see their in house service, this was a good start to their service.
Sam showed up shortly after that second phone call and picked up the food. She got to talk to the kind asian gentleman whom I spoke with on the phone and she got to share about the project with him (after she paid to avoid any conflict of interest). He was very excited to learn about what we were doing and wants us to send him a copy of the review once it is posted. He was also gracious enough to give us a $10 off Skip the Dishes coupon and a $5 off Foodora coupon (read to the end to find out how you can win them).
We ordered the Ginger Beef, a favourite of Sam’s no matter where we are, and the Spicy Potato Wedges. The Ginger Beef had “(hot)” beside it on the menu and if you’ve been following along you’ll know we’re both very okay with spice. Cottage Bistro does not mess around with their spice.
The Ginger Beef was very good. I wish it had been crunchier but the lack of crunch was likely due to the fact that the time between it being made and us eating it was almost an hour. The ginger flavour was lacking though. One thing we appreciated was that the sauce that was supposed to be on the beef was in a container on the side as to not make the dish soggy on the way home. The sauce was quite spicy, again we don’t mind, but the flavour of the sauce we felt was lost due to the punch-in-the-face amount of spice it contained. It came with a side of veggies which for us were bok choy, broccoli and carrot. Overall, the flavour was okay but it could have been that much better with less spice and more ginger. We won’t dock points for texture because we are aware that was more than likely due to the amount of time that elapsed between being made and being eaten.
The Spicy Potato Wedges were more like potato wedges with spicy sauce. The wedges themselves are not spicy; however, they are delicious. The crunch was still there, but again not as much as we desired which we are aware is from the time that it took for us to eat it after being made. The wedges themselves are topped with green onion and fried pieces of garlic. The fried garlic was a nice touch that we had never had on fries or wedges before. Usually with garlic fries the garlic is raw and very pungent. This fried garlic was nice and mild with the perfect hit of garlic flavour. The menu says they have a spicy seasoning on them but the ones I ate without the sauce did not. The sauce is a chipotle aioli which I think more than likely was sriracha mayo. We’re not complaining because we both love sriracha mayo. The mix of the fried garlic and sriracha mayo was delicious and those wedges did not last long on our plate.
After the meal our mouths were on fire from the spice from the sauce with the beef and then the chipotle aioli as well.
The value was just okay. If you look through their menu the prices are on the higher end. The Ginger Beef was $20 and the wedges were $8. The wedges were fairly priced for an appetizer but the ginger beef was, in our opinion, priced too high. We would have been much more comfortable paying in the $15-17 range for that dish.
All in all, Cottage Bistro had good food that we both enjoyed. We would love to go back and eat in house and try their food fresh as fresh is best. That being said, there is nothing about Cottage Bistro that would deter us from eating any of their food again. Everything tasted good and the service was excellent. The gentleman who we dealt with was very kind and a pleasure to speak with.
To win the Skip the Dishes $10 off coupon or the $5 off Foodora coupon, follow us on Instagram @adventureneverenns and we will draw two names from our new followers to win the coupons which we will deliver to you.
Food 7.5/10 – both good dishes, too much spice in the ginger beef sauce
Service 9/10 – kind gentleman on the phone and he gave us coupons
Kid friendliness – N/A, did not eat inside
Decor 7/10 – nothing special but not terrible
Value 7.5/10 – ginger beef was overpriced by a couple dollars
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 6/104598 Main St, Vancouver, BC(604) 873-3345
7 days a week 10:30am – 9:00pm
Our first pho restaurant along the way was this past week was Pho Tan Restaurant. We love pho, both of us and Nixon love pho, a lot. A user on Reddit, u/ruddiger22, warned us about all the pho coming up and we were excited about that.
Pho Tan is a nice little restaurant with maybe about 12-15 tables. It’s not big by any means but we all know that means nothing in terms of quality. We were welcomed nicely by a gentleman and sat at our table. Tea was brought immediately and we were given menus. The service was off to a good start.
We weren’t super hungry this day but we obviously had to order some pho. It was the perfect pho day too, cold and rainy, or as we call it, just another day in Vancouver. We decided to order one other item on the menu to see how the rest of the menu was. Our order was two items: large pho with steak & brisket and banh cuon (ground pork wrapped in Vietnamese steamed rice roll).
Our pho sides came right away with the regular sprouts, lime, jalapeno and basil. Sam and I like to do our pho differently. We prefer our pho slightly differently. I like to add sprouts, lime and spice coming from the jalapeno. Sam likes to add sprouts, lime and spice from the hot sauce. We both love hoisin sauce also.
The large pho came in a big bowl and easily fed the both of us. Anyone who has ever had pho knows it is all about the broth. Without a good broth, no pho is complete. This broth was good. Just good. Not the best pho we’ve ever had but definitely not the worst. The broth was good and that’s the most important part.
The banh cuon on the other hand was not good. If any of you are like Sam and are texture eaters, you will not like this. I could only get through one before I had had enough. The menu describes the dish as “ground pork wrapped in Vietnamese steamed rice roll” so I expected to have a roll presented in front of me when the dish came. Expect they weren’t. they came more as patties. You can see in the picture how they were presented. The taste was okay. The roll itself was pretty tasteless but the texture was what got to me. I’m usually okay with any texture but the roll was extremely “gummy”. Like, stick-to-your-teeth-like-taffy-does gummy. I got through one so I could get the whole taste but I didn’t even know how to eat it. Chopsticks with one bite? Pick it up with my hands? Ask for a fork and knife? I broke it into pieces with my chopsticks and ate it that way. If I ate it wrong please let me know. In the end, the banh cuon left the table with only one of them eaten. It came with four.
The value was quite good. We felt $10 for enough pho to feed two people was more than generous. We had no problem paying that amount for the amount of food we got. $7 for banh cuon though was a little much at almost $2 per “roll”. But if you’re going to Pho Tan we assume you’re ordering pho anyways.
The service was good. We were seated right away and brought tea immediately as I mentioned earlier. On the other hand, when we asked for ice water we had to ask twice before we got any. I’m assuming our server just forget and it wasn’t a huge deal.
One thing to note before you go to Pho Tan is that they are cash or debit only. No credit cards. There is also a $5 minimum charge per person.
In the end, we would return to Pho Tan but only for the pho.
Food 7/10 – one good item and one not good, only get pho
Service 8/10 – not outstanding but no complaints
Kid friendliness – high chair, no kids menu but the kids ate what we ate
Decor 6/10 – nothing special
Value 8/10 – good for the pho
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 4.5/54818 Main St, Vancouver, BC(604) 321-4448
7 days a week 9:30am – 10:30pm
We’re back. We hope you all had a great holiday break and got to spend time with friends and family. We took the break to do just that which is why you haven’t see a Main Street Eats post from us in a while.
This week we went to Haiyi Seafood Restaurant. As you can see from the picture it is located in a very tiny strip mall, if you can even call it that, and it takes up one half of it.
Haiyi Seafood Restaurant is a dim sum restaurant. For those who don’t know what that means it means that they have a very large menu of dishes that are meant to be shared. This is why you get a large menu and tick off the items your table wants. When the food comes to your table it is placed on a big lazy Susan and you take what you wish from whatever dish is in front of you. You then spin the lazy Susan clockwise to the next dish and so on. This was our first time in a traditional dim sum restaurant. I remember growing up and seeing them in Richmond Centre and always wanting to go in but that was never my family’s style, we were Chinese take out white folk.
My cousin and her boyfriend joined us for this venture and it was a great time. We were the only white people in the restaurant but, as we’ve experienced all along this journey, that didn’t affect our service or how we were treated, nor did we expect it to. The gentleman who served us was amazing. So great with the kids, constantly trying to get Nixon to laugh, which he finally did before we left and it was a cute moment for both of them.
Their menu is extensive with precisely 264 items. We forgot to take a picture, we are going back to get a picture and will update the post for you. So, picking items to eat was difficult indeed. In the end, we decided on the following:
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
House Special Fried Vermicelli
Sweet & Sour Pork
Spicy Green Beans
BBQ Pork Sticky Buns
Spicy Fried Halibut
Shrimp Spring Rolls
Everything was delicious. There is nothing that we ordered that I wouldn’t order again. The shrimp dumplings were exactly what you would expect and he dumpling was perfectly cooked as was the shrimp. They were a good size too, definitely not one-bite dumplings. The house special fried vermicelli was also excellent. Definitely on the spicy side which we weren’t expecting from the description but as you know by now, we love spicy so that was not a pleasant surprise, for some of you it may not be. The sweet & sour pork is the one thing we can order that we will always be familiar with and it’s hard to screw up so it’s really a safety order for us, it was delicious. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a bad sweet & sour pork. Spicy green beans have to be one of my all time favourite hot veggie dishes so it wasn’t up for discussion, we were getting them; as with everything else, delicious. Not too spicy but a perfect balance of spiciness and saltiness. BBQ pork sticky buns are a traditional dim sum menu item so we had to get them. They were sticky alright. None of us could get a whole bun out of the steamer basket in one piece so we just picked at it in parts. The bun doesn’t have a ton of taste but the filling is what you’re after and the BBQ pork was so yummy. Not too sweet but it did have some sweetness that was nicely balances by the BBQ flavour which brought the savoury side. The spicy fried halibut was a big question mark for us. We had no idea what to expect and it came in little two-bite sized pieces. This is where the one negative of the menu came in, there were bones in them. On my first bite I bit into something hard, I figured it was a bone and this was an unpleasant surprise. I’m not sure if this is traditional but it was annoying having to be hesitant with every bite no knowing when you might chomp down on a bone. The halibut itself was nice and flaky and the spicy crust on the outside made it a great bite. The shrimp spring rolls were as expected, a nice crunchy, flaky outside with well cooked shrimp inside and a nice sauce to accompany it.
The food was excellent, other than the bones in the halibut we have no complaints. The portion size was very generous also.
The service was excellent and the servers were back to top up waters and make sure we were doing alright but they didn’t come back so much that it got annoying. I’m sure we’ve all been to a restaurant where the server comes back so much that you just want to tell him or her “we’re good, you don’t need to come back every 5 minutes. If we need something we will let you know.” That didn’t happen here.
The value we received here was average, we wouldn’t say it was great but it was right in the middle. The food was good which can justify the slightly above-average prices but we still felt the prices were a couple dollars higher per dish than they should have been. That being said, price would not deter us from returning to Haiyi as everything was excellent.
Food 4.5/5 – no bones in the halibut and this is a 5/5
Service 5/5 – perfect, it doesn’t get any better than this
Kid friendliness – high chair, no kids menu but the kids ate what we ate
Decor 4.5/5 – very elegant with white draped chairs and big glass lazy Susans
Value 4/5 – portions were generous and the food was good but a couple dollar high per dish
Never stop adventuring!
Overall Rating 3.5/56440 Main St, Vancouver, BC(604) 565-9983
Monday – Saturday 12pm – 8pm, Sunday 12pm – 6pm
Chevere Eh! has eluded us up until now. Their website is not consistent with what Google says about them in terms of hours and even after phoning the restaurant to get their hours they have just changed again. The hours are above are current as of today as I just got off the phone with the owner. This is the first week that these hours apply. We went yesterday and it was her first Sunday being open in months. She was open 5pm-9pm and was unsure as to how the night would go but had 4 phone calls for take out when we got there at 5pm. We had called beforehand to see if we could order at 430pm and pickup at 5pm and she had no issue with this.
As an owner, she is a very sweet lady. The kind that you root for. She runs the whole restaurant by herself. The restaurant is mainly take out orders and Skip the Dishes is her biggest client by a large margin she said. The restaurant has only been open for about 7 months and business has been great. She is hoping to grow the business big enough so she can move down Main Street and be closer to the bigger restaurants further down.
We were excited to try the food as Venezuelan is a cuisine neither of us had tried. Of course we’ve had burritos and tacos before but never from a Venezuelan restaurant so we were curious to see if we noticed a difference.
Unfortunately, the food was underwhelming. We were quite disappointed as we wanted this to be a big hit. The owner was super kind and we wanted so badly to give her a good review to help her achieve her dream of moving to a bigger location. But we aren’t going to lie and let our emotions influence our reviews.
We ate with my brother and dad so we made sure to order as much variety as we could. We ordered the following:
3 Arepas (one chicken, one pork, one beef)
1 burrito (beef)
3 orders of tacos (one chicken, one pork, one beef)
Portion wise everything was great. The tacos were much smaller than we thought they would be but since you got 3 it was a fair portion.
The arepas were a very good size but ultimately, as with the rest of the food, were dry. Anytime you eat something that is carb-based and it is dry, it doesn’t taste good. You know that feeling where you have to chew something extra because of how dry it is? That’s what we had to do with the arepas. The filling itself was even a little dry. The beef was the best one we had as it was still slightly moist. The chicken was quite dry as was the pork. These were disappointing.
The tacos were the same as the arepas. To preface this, neither of us are big fans of corn tortillas because we always find them dry. We prefer flour but we are well aware that corn tortillas are the authentic way to do tacos. And double up on the tortilla. These were done exactly like that, corn tortillas and doubled up. We ate them with just the one tortilla and they were okay. Again, the tortilla tasted very dry and the fillings were actually quite bland. By looking at the filling you could tell it was the exact same as what was in the arepas but maybe the cheese in the arepas helped with the flavour of the arepa because in the arepa it tasted different. Most of the taco filling had no flavour, luckily they came with sauce that helped.
The burrito on the other hand was a complete 180 from the rest of the meal. If you go to Chevere Eh! I highly recommend the beef burrito. It’s not make with ground beef but rather shredded beef. The rice was nice and moist. All the filling was packed in neatly and the burrtio was wrapped perfectly. Nobody likes eating a burrito that is going to fall apart halfway through. This one didn’t. The ratio of rice, beans and meat was perfect. We have nothing bad to say about the burrito and it was definitely the savoury saving grace of this place.
The quesillo was also very good. We love flans and this one was no different. I’m not a huge fan of coconut which this was topped with but Sam loves coconut so naturally she enjoyed it much more than I did, though I still quite enjoyed it.
We can’t comment on the coffee or the soup of the day as we didn’t order either.
The value was okay. The prices were fair but we just wished the quality was a little bit better. If you just base value off of price to portion then everything was very fairly priced. Unfortunately, the quality just wasn’t there with everything on the menu. We’re rooting for this place and the owner but as of right now, it isn’t near the top of our list.
Food 3/5 – dry and bland but the burrito and quesillo saved it from a lower score
Service 5/5 – very sweet lady and even let us order before she was open
Kid friendliness N/A as there is almost no space inside and is mostly a take out restaurant
Decor 5/5 – fun, inviting place with cool colours and a nod to Venezuela
Value 3/5 – portion size was fair but quality was lacking
Never stop adventuring!