• FRUGAL FRIDAY

    Frugal Friday: Always Make Extra

    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!

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  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Simply Delicious

    Overall Rating 6/10

    4316 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 875-9866

    7 Days A Week 4pm – 1 am

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    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.

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    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.

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    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
    • Gyoza
    • 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!

     

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  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Ogenki Sushi

    Overall Rating 9/10

    4342 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    604-875-9975
    Monday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Tuesday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Wednesday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Thursday 11:00am – 9:30pm  
    Friday 11:00am – 10:00pm
    Saturday 11:30am – 10:00pm           
    Sunday 11:30am – 9:30pm
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    Sushi 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, Gyoza
    Assorted Tempura
    Custom Poke Bowl – Spicy Tuna, Edamame, Wasabi Peas, Cilantro, Pineapple, Avocado (+$1), Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, White Rice
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    Ogenki 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).
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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 value

     

    Never stop adventuring!
  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Haiyi Seafood Restaurant

    Overall Rating 4.5/5

    4818 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 321-4448

    7 days a week 9:30am – 10:30pm

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    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

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    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.

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    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!

  • FRUGAL FRIDAY

    Main Street Eats: Van Tea Cafe

    Overall Rating 4.5/5

    5688 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 565-9983

    7 days a week 9am – 11pm

    This week we had to skip Chevere Eh! due to their incorrect hours on Google and not being able to seat our party when we went. We went down twice and both times we had to go elsewhere for the above reasons. We will review them next week.

    We did get to try a brand new restaurant, only open for 2 weeks, though. Van Tea Cafe. From our research it looks like this location used to be called The Roc. As we walked in, the first thing we noticed was that we were the only white people. It seemed very family friendly and a place Chinese people seemed to enjoy bringing the family to. The next thing we noticed was how nice it was inside. Being a new restaurant, we would assume it should look nice still. Everything was clearly new and we all agreed this was the second restaurant, besides Roots Cafe if you call it a restaurant, where you could tell that the decor really mattered.

    The staff were very welcoming as we the other guests who enjoyed looking at and playing with our kids. We were seated and quickly greeted with tea. It was a tea we had never had in an Asian restaurant before. It wasn’t green tea, none of us could explain it but we hadn’t had it before. It was delicious, though.

    The menu at Van Tea Cafe is expansive; if I remember correctly, it was 8 double sided pages. We looked at it for a long time to try and get an idea of what to order. We did ask our waitress what she recommended and she looked at us and smiled then said, “you would like the sweet & sour pork.” Well, she wasn’t wrong, we all do enjoy that dish but we’re here to try more than the “white people food”. We asked her for another minute so we could decide. We decided upon Spicy Fried Fish in Banana Leaf, Peanut Chili Chicken and we did order the Sweet & Sour Pork. We tried to be a little more adventurous than in the past but for those that think we weren’t adventurous enough, remember, sweet & sour may well be the most popular dish for white people in her experience, which would make it worth reviewing, even if just for the white people who go there, so we ordered it. We chose the other two dishes. We also added an appetizer of roti.

    We were brought two soups right away, one borscht and one we’re not sure of. It had chunks of bone in it and there was some meat on the bone still. It tasted like a chicken noodle broth but that bone was not from a chicken. Either way, both we excellent and coming from a Mennonite background, bring on the borscht!

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    When eating at this restaurant, we suggest ordering dishes and making them share plates. That’s how they are served and I assume it is for that reason. The portions are very large as you can see from the pictures. We finished all the sweet & sour pork and the others were close; there was one piece of fish left and about a quarter of the peanut chili chicken. The roti was basically finished, maybe one piece left.

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    The roti was awesome. It was came with a chinese curry to dip into which was excellent also. If there was a complaint about this dish it would be that the roti came out slightly greasy.

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    I’m glad we ordered the sweet & sour pork regardless of how adventurous, or not, of a choice that was because it was easily the best one all of us had ever eaten. There was truly sweet and sour and the contrast played beautifully as it hit your tongue. Mix your bite with the green pepper or pineapple and it was even better. There’s a reason that was the only dish we finished. There isn’t much more to say about it, it was the best thing we ate that day and the best sweet & sour pork we’ve ever had.

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    The peanut chili chicken was also great. Spicy, though. Spicy enough that if you aren’t a fan of spice it would be worth avoiding, or you could just try taking bites that didn’t include pieces of chili, but it’s all cooked together so you judge for yourself. The peanuts were left with the skin on, something we probably could have done without but it didn’t take away from the dish at all. This dish had more salty flavour than any other flavour we tasted but it was well balanced with the spice to make a perfect match. The portion of chicken is the dish was generous which is always appreciated and a sign they weren’t willing to cheap out on a dish.

    The spciy fried fish in banana leaf was our most adventurous order not knowing what to expect at all. There was no description of how it was served, what kind of fish it was or anything really. It came in a shallow cast iron pot served on top of a banana leaf; it was a great presentation minus the lack of colour outside of the leaf itself. It was topped with a chunky brown topping where the only thing I recognized was onion. As the word ‘spicy’ was in the title we expected spice out of this dish and it was. If the peanut chili chicken was a 6/10 on the spice scale, this dish was at least an 8/10, probably a 9/10. The fish was soft and flaky and fell apart with just your fork, perfectly cooked. For an adeventurous order, we would all eat this again.

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    The value of Van Tea Cafe was phenomenal. Even before the 10% grand opening discount we were very impressed. We forgot to take a picture of the menu and there is no website yet but most dishes range between $12-18. Appetizers are all under $10 as are the desserts. Our total was about $51 for 3 entrees and 1 appetizer after tax. After the discount, our bill was $46 and change. We also got one meal of leftovers out of it. We wer too stuffed to try dessert but the waitress said the red bean pastries have been there most popular by a mile so far.

    One annoying thing about the restaurant was that they were cash or debit only. We thought them not accepting credit may be due to them being a new restaurant but when you open a restaurant isn’t that something that should be figured out and setup ahead of time? From a service point of view that was the only negative here because the rest of it was fantastic.

    Food – 5/5 – everything we ordered was delicious, even the dishes we had never had before

    Service 4.5/5 – excellent table service, annoying that they only take debit/cash

    Kid-friendliness- 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair

    Decor – 4.5/5 – awesome, brand new, included live tanks of seafood on the wall

    Value – 4.5/5 – enough for leftovers without breaking the bank

    Never stop adventuring!

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  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Tandoori Oven

    Overall Rating 4.5/5

     6452 Main St, Vancouver, BC

    (604) 565-3355

    Tuesday 5pm – 11am

    Wednesday to Monday: 11am – 11pm

    Back to the Indian food this week on Main Street Eats. Tandoori Oven is a prime example of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ because if you did you would be missing out on some amazing Indian food.

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    This was the best service we have had along this journey so far and it wasn’t even close. Sam, the boys, my mom and I ventured into Tandoori Oven last week and if decor or ambience mean a lot to you then maybe just skip this place because it’s not pretty. Cardboard boxes piled up in the corner, random tables and chairs with no real order, it’s kind of a gong show on the inside, which made me immediately say to our table “this is going to be the best food yet.” I was right.

    The waiter who served our table, we learned later he was the chef and owner too, was such a genuinely kind guy. His goal the whole time seemed to get Nixon to like him. Nixon was shy at first but the waiter said “by the end, he’s going to be my friend, I love kids.” He was right because by the end he was high-fiving and playing with Nixon.

    Their menu is very Indian with a splash of North America as is seen by the burgers and wraps. There was no way we were ordering from that section of the menu.

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    I ordered the goat biryani ($9.99), Sam ordered the butter chicken ($9.99) with garlic naan ($1.99), and my mom ordered the lamb kabab ($9.99) with regular naan ($1.50). When our food came it was basically all share plates. The biryani I ordered could easily have filled up two people, the butter chicken and lamb kabab were fairly portioned for one person. We all helped ourselves to each other’s plates and all agreed that the food was amazing.

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    My biryani was something I had never had before. The goat came off the bone with the slightest pull with a fork and was so flavourful, not spicy but intense flavours that were delicious. It came with classic biryani rice which I love. As I mentioned before, this didn’t get finished even with 3 of us eating off of it, the portion was enormous. Sam’s butter chicken was so good. She loves dipping garlic naan into just the sauce and she said it was one of the best she’s ever had. The chicken was falling apart which was perfect or getting onto your naan. It came in a little metal pot which we thought was great presentation. As mentioned in the Best Quality Sweets post she loves garlic naan and always orders it. We both agreed it was the best one yet. Mom’s lamb kabab was the final dish we ordered and was just as delicious as the rest. Hers was spicy, though. Quite spicy in fact. She ended up eating most of the biryani and butter chicken as it was too spicy for her. The lamb was perfectly seasoned and had great contrast between tasting the initial sweet, minty flavour then being hit with the spice at the end.

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    The service was unbelievable. Our waiter asked if he could bring Nixon some french fries, we declined as he was eating the food on the table just fine. He brought the fries anyways. And they too were fantastic. They were seasoned in a way I had never tasted. I assume some Indian seasonings that I was unfamiliar with.

    As it was slow when we were in there, we got to know our waiter a little bit. He grew up in India and has been a professional chef for 14 years. Before moving to Canada, he was a chef in 3 different 5-start restaurants in Dubai. Tandoori Oven has only been open for 10 months. He said he knew about all the other Indian restaurants in the neighbourhood and wanted to be different. According to Skip the Dishes, he is already the most popular Indian restaurant in the neighbourhood for deliveries and after eating there it makes sense why. He was a very kind man and we hope to visit him again soon and try something knew.

    This place will definitely be our go to for Indian food when we’re in the neighbourhood.

    Food – 5/5 – everything we ordered was amazing, we wouldn’t hesitate to order anything from the menu here

    Service 5/5 – it doesn’t get any better

    Kid-friendliness- 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair

    Decor – 1/5 – you can’t get more basic than this

    Value – 5/5 – cheap plates with enough for a meal of leftovers

    Never stop adventuring!

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Roots Cafe

    Overall Rating 4.5/5

    6502 Main Street, Vancouver, BC

    (604) 568-8303

    Monday to Friday: 8am – 7pm

    Saturday: 9am – 6pm 

    Sunday: 9am – 5pm

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    Our first cafe along the journey was Roots Cafe. We actually made two trips to Roots Cafe because they serve breakfast and lunch so we had to try both.

    Roots Cafe is described as a ‘homey Canadian cafe’ and that it is. A very relaxed vibe is obvious once you walk through the door. The feeling we got is that this is a very chill coffee shop where both local high school and college students come to hang out after school, construction workers come for their morning coffee and lunch, and local employees grab their coffee before work. A busy place at certain times of the day and quiet at other times.

    Roots-2

    We ate breakfast there at about 9:30am and it was clearly a quiet time. When we got there there was only one other person there. We had no issue with it as we got to enjoy a quiet breakfast as a family.

    Their breakfast menu is brief with only 3 options. 2 classic breakfasts with eggs and the usual sides and one breakfast sandwich. I ordered the big breakfast (house made hashbrowns, bacon, turkey sausage, curried baked beans, toast, & 2 free run eggs, scrambled) and Sam had the breakfast sandwich (2 free run eggs topped with cheddar cheese, mixed greens, tomato, onion & mayo on Texas toast. Served with house made hashbrowns). Before we get into the details, let me just say, you need to eat here; everything we ate at this place is fantastic and we never left hungry.

    Roots-7

    The Big Breakfast ($9.95) had plenty of food as you can see from the picture above. The food was seasoned perfectly, this kitchen knows how to use and not abuse salt. The hashbrowns were delicious as they were crispy on the outside and soft cooked perfectly on the inside and seasoned perfectly with a flavour I’m not sure I’ve has before. It almost tasted slightly curried but I can’t say for sure that’s what it was. One thing I’ve never seen on a breakfast plate before is curried beans. Those were very interesting and I must say I enjoyed them although I didn’t finish them. It was such a unique taste that may tastebuds couldn’t take too much of it, but I suggest you try them yourself because it’s an experience in itself.

    Roots-8

    Sam’s breakfast sandwich ($6.95) was large. Large enough that she couldn’t finish it and I got to try what she couldn’t finish. It is presented beautifully with the marbled Texas toast and a side of their house made hashbrowns which was generous as usually breakfast sandwiches don’t come with a side in my experience. As a breakfast sandwich should be, the yolk was runny throughout the sandwich which is a must in a egg sandwich. The mix of the yolk and mayo made a perfect sauce that covered each bite.

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    Salted Caramel Latte (left) and white chocolate mocha (right)
    Since Roots is a cafe we both decided to try a beverage with our breakfasts. Neither of us are regular coffee drinkers, however we gave their white chocolate mocha and salted caramel latte a try. I loved my mocha – which is saying a lot since coffee is not a favourite flavour of mine. Sam enjoyed the salted caramel latte, even though I found it too salty. I don’t believe the latte is available all year round, likely a seasonal beverage. Needless to say breakfast was a hit.

    Roots-3

    While there, we noticed an award for their butter chicken poutine ($10.95), and since we didn’t have room to try it after our breakfasts, we decided we would come back another time for lunch. The award was not lying. Sam and I shared the butter chicken poutine along with two more beverages – white hot chocolate for me and a dark hot chocolate for her. The portion was generous, we’re glad we shared, and it tasted amazing. The fries were nice and crunchy despite being topped with butter chicken. The spiciness of the butter chicken was above average and there was a paste in the middle that had an extra kick was was nice but overall a great balance of flavours and textures. We would suggest mixing the paste in with the rest of the butter chicken. It was the best thing we’ve eaten on this journey so far. We both loved our hot chocolates also, not to sweet but full of flavour.

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    Roots-9
    Dark hot chocolate (left) and white hot chocolate (right)
    Overall, this was as close to a 5/5 as you can get without being a 5/5. If I had to tell give a negative about the place it would be the lack of choice of bread. Usually with breakfasts that include toast you get to choose your bread. White seemed to be the only option here and I expected to have a bit more variety. One last thing was the lack of choice of jam for the toast; I was given strawberry which I quite enjoy but for someone who doesn’t like it I could see this as a problem for them. And, I was only given one thing of jam for 2 slices of toast. I’m sure if I asked for more I could get some but it would have been nice to be served with what was needed. One thought Sam had here was that the beans were meant to go on the toast. As this place is famous for their poutine, a french dish, and beans on toast is a Quebec thing. But again, for someone who doesn’t like that, sufficient jam should be available. Service wasn’t fantastic but as this is not an actual restaurant I’m not sure what was to be expected. Nobody asked us how anything was at any point during being there. After we ordered, we didn’t talk to another employee at all actually. That is just us nitpicking at minor issues, though, because overall everything we ate was fantastic and we left satisfied.

    A couple final things to mention, they are licensed. They have Steel & Oak’s Red Pilsner and Blue Buck on tap. They also make all their sandwiches that you see in the case in house. Go check this place out and make sure to try the butter chicken poutine, you won’t be disappointed.

     

    Food – 5/5 – can’t find a complaint about the food we ate

    Service 4/5 – some sort of interaction after ordering would have been appreciated

    Kid-friendliness- 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair

    Decor – 5/5 – modern, fun, homey feeling

    Value – 5/5 – hot drinks were cheaper and better tasting than Starbucks or any other corporate chain and the food prices were comparable to most places with the added value of a home-cooked feeling

    Never stop adventuring!

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Best Quality Sweets

    Overall Rating – 4.5/5

    7260 Main St, Vancouver, BC

    (604) 324-6677

    Open 7 days a week 9am – 8:30pm

     

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    We’re back. This time we went Indian. Best Quality Sweets is an Indian Vegetarian restaurant. Sorry, no butter chicken here. It was a different style of restaurant as it wasn’t strictly a sit down restaurant but it wasn’t a take out restaurant like Canan either. As you walk in you’re treated to the sight of an amazing arrangement of Indian sweets behind a glass display case. Everything is meticulously organized and it satisfies the OCD within all of us. The cases gave the restaurant a deli-like feel. The whole layout adds to the deli-like feel with display cases, ordering at the counter (for sweets and take out), and a corner with some tables and chairs for eating.

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    Nixon loved looking at the well organized sweets
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    The savoury treats

    We got the feeling in Best Quality Sweets that it is a popular hangout among the local South Asian community as there were mothers with their kids coming in for an after school snack, grandparents sitting and enjoying some sweets and couples in there for a lunch date. We were the only white people in the place but as many of you know, South Asians are extremely hospitable. It felt as though we got some sort of special treatment possibly brought on by the feeling that it isn’t a place frequented by white people. This is just a hunch, we have no idea if that is accurate but it’s the feeling we got and it’s by no means a bad thing. Not only were the employees super friendly and hospitable but the other customers were as well. Nixon has only been walking for about a month and that’s all he wants to do these days. We’re pretty liberal about letting him roam free as long as he isn’t interrupting or disturbing others. There was a family sitting next to us who loved him. They would smile back at him, wave at him and encourage his walking. Everyone here was a pleasure to be around. The place was way too busy for us to take any time to talk to the workers about the place so we didn’t get much other information. For now, let’s just say we felt more than welcome in a place where we were the minority.

    As we sat down we were promptly brought a menu and some water. After browsing the menu we settled on two things. I have said that I will always order the most popular dish and Sam will order whatever seems most appealing but on the menu was the ‘Best Quality Combo’ which came with “Veg. Pakora, Veg. Samosa, Panner Pakora and Alu Tikki”. Since we can’t eat 4 main course-sized dishes we felt that this combo was a great way to sample the 4 different dishes. We also added a garlic naan to our order because anywhere garlic naan is on the menu, garlic naan gets ordered by Sam.

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    The food was mostly excellent. I say mostly because one part of the combo was sub par. The paneer pakora was the sub par dish. For those like ourselves who had no idea what this dish was, it is “cream cheese fritters served with chutney”. The fritters were very dry on the inside and had minimal filling. This was the only disappointing thing throughout our whole experience at Best Quality Sweets. Not even their fantastic chutney could save the panner pakora, though. The veggie samosas were delicious. I’m a sucker for any type of samosa so I was really hoping this was not going to be like the paneer pakora and thank god it wasn’t. The samosas were fantastic. It was very well seasoned with a perfect ratio of potato to the other veggies and a crispy, not greasy crust brought my mouth into samosa heaven. The veggie pakora was Sam’s favourite. Vegetable pakora is “mixed vegetarian fritters served with chutney”. As you see in the picture, the plate is finished with a serving of these fritters. There were plenty of them and they were great. The vegetables from what we could tell were cauliflower, potatoes (regular and sweet), bell peppers, cabbage and eggplant. They were deep fried and the batter was so tasty that even if you don’t like one of those vegetables, chances are you won’t even notice. The Alu Tikki was my favourite. It is a spiced potato patty that is deep fried. Basically, it was a very tasty, slightly spicy, deep fried mashed potato patty and I loved every bit of it. I have nothing bad to say about it. Our combo was served with two chutneys, one which was a fresh pesto-like spicy chutney of cilantro, mint, lime juice, and green chiles. The spice was definitely noticeable but not over powering although if you aren’t a fan of spice it would likely be too much for you. If that’s you, then you would love the other chutney served with our meal which was tamarind. It is a sweet and sour chutney and Sam lathered it over everything she ate. It was her favourite. I enjoy spice a little more so the first chutney was my favourite. The garlic naan was great as it was served warm and we got 2 big pieces. An easy way to ruin naan is for it to be dry, this was not. They also threw in 2 spring rolls that we were pretty sure we weren’t supposed to get but they were yummy too. Overall, the combo was great and we would definitely order it again. We didn’t finish all of it between us so we had a snack later that evening. A bonus – Nixon loved most if it as well!

     

    The name of the place is Best Quality Sweets so we couldn’t leave without trying some sweets. The most appealing to us was the gulab jamun which is “deep fried cake balls dipped in honey, served warm”. My experience in the past with Indian sweets is that they are terribly sweet. Neither of us would consider ourselves sweet tooths so we were hesitant. Our hesitancy was not needed. The sweetness was well balanced throughout the cake ball (basically a Timbit) and serving it warm just felt right. The inside was moist and the honey provided a perfect amount of sweetness. We were given 2 and it was the perfect way to finish the meal.

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    All in all, the value was tremendous. $7.99 to enjoy 4 dishes with enough food that we took home leftovers? Yes please! The naan was $2 as were the 2 gulab jamun. In total we paid $12 for a lot of delicious food.

    The decor was nothing fancy. There were a few interesting pieces of Indian art but other than that it was nothing worth going back for. Good thing we didn’t go for the decor and we went for the food. Much like Wo’s, we didn’t have high expectations for decor and therefore it wasn’t a disappointment.

    The restaurant had a high chair that we saw after but we had already started our meal and we didn’t bother with it. There was no kids menu, not that we expected one here, but they had no issue with Nixon wandering around the restaurant so we were happy.

    Overall, we would definitely go back to Best Quality Sweets and we were very happy with our 3rd stop on Main Street Eats.

    Food – 4.5/5 – one dish was sub par but the rest were excellent

    Service 5/5 – very welcoming and didn’t have to ask for anything

    Kid Friendliness – 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair

    Decor – 3.5/5 nothing special but not ugly

    Value – 5/5 – lots of food for not a lot of money

    Never stop adventuring!

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Canan Pizza

    Overall Rating – 4/5


    Open 7 Days A Week 4pm – 12am

     

    Thanks for coming back to check out our next restaurant review for Main Street Eats. This time, we had pizza. It’s hard to hate a pizza, right? For us, there are two things that can ruin a pizza: too much crust and not enough toppings.

    Canan Pizza is strictly a take out or delivery pizza place. They have 4 seats inside for people waiting to pick up their order but otherwise there is very limited space inside, we’re talking maybe 100 square feet. In the picture below I’m standing at the entrance with no zoom to give you an idea of how small it is. To my left where the table with magazines on it is is right beside the 4 chairs. The counter in the middle is where you order and to the right of the man is a very small counter to pay at.


    We went in to order our pizza. We wanted to talk to whomever was working so we could talk a little bit about the place and find out what their most popular order was. They have no website but if you want to see the menu online you can use this link. After reading through their menu (they have paper pamphlets at their counter where you pay, just like the one in the link) Sam decided the most appealing thing on the menu was their Chicken Caesar Pizza; here is the menu description of it: Chicken caesar dressing, blended cheese, crumbled bacon, onions and tomato all topped with savory parmesean cheese. Sounds like a chicken caesar salad to me, minus the onion, we don’t put onion on our chicken caesar salad, but maybe you do. After talking to the very polite gentlemen at the counter we found out that their most popular order was the House Special; here is the menu description of it: Pepperoni, ham, onion, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives. We felt this was a pretty standard house pizza description. We ordered it without mushrooms and black olives. I don’t like black olives, or any olives, and Sam doesn’t like mushrooms and it wouldn’t be fair to Canan if we reviewed their pizza with ingredients we didn’t like because for us it would ruin the pizza.

    So, how was the pizza? Like we mentioned earlier, we don’t put onion on our chicken caesar salad so having onion on that pizza was a little bit weird for us. It added a nice textural component with the crunch it provided but the taste threw off the overall chicken caesar feel. That being said, the rest of the pizza was great. Caesar can be overpowering but they seemed to find the perfect balance because you could taste it, but it didn’t overwhelm your taste buds. I do wish there was more bacon though because, well, who doesn’t like more bacon? I couldn’t really taste it and honestly until I read the menu again I didn’t even know there was bacon on it. The amount of chicken on the pizza was very generous which we both appreciated. Overall, this pizza is an easy 5/5 with more bacon and less, or no, onion. For now, it gets a 4/5; the lack of bacon and the onion each knock it down half a point.

    House Special Pizza
    Chicken Caesar Pizza

    What about the House Special? This pizza was pretty standard in terms of what we expected. It had a generous amount of meat, one full layer of pepperoni and one full layer of ham. Unfortunately, this pizza had an onion issue also. The onion was the first topping laid down after the sauce. So, imagine you’re making a pizza and on the crust goes sauce then onion, then pepperoni, then ham, then cheese, then green pepper (and black olives and mushrooms if you order it with those toppings). That’s how this pizza was made. The onion on the bottom of the pizza and the green pepper on the top added a crazy amount of crunch. The problem was, too much onion! In every bite you had at least 10+ pieces of diced onion; to us, that’s a little bit excessive. This onion issue was greater than the chicken caesar onion issue so this time it knocks it down a full point because it did overpower most bites. So, again a 4/5.

    We haven’t talked about the crust yet. Well, this is what kept both pizzas at a 4/5 and didn’t bring them down further. This was one of the best crusts we’ve ever had. It’s not fair to compare it to what we ate in New York earlier this year (read about that trip here is you wish) because most New York pizza is thin crust. Canan had what we would call regular thickness crust, but it was awesome. The outside had a great crispness to it that provided a good crunch but under that it was soft and easy to get through. The ratio of crust to topping was perfect. We’ve all had a pizza with way too much crust and not enough toppings, right? That’s an easy way to screw up a pizza as we mentioned earlier. Canan nailed it. Fantastic crust.

    Your can see how well proportioned the crust is

    It isn’t fair to rate Canan’s kid friendliness because they’re strictly a take out/delivery restaurant. The decor also isn’t really fair to rate for the same reason, you’re spending no more than 5 minutes in there at a time.

    We will rate their service, though. After we ordered we were told it would be about 25-30 minutes. We walked out of there with our pizza after 28 minutes. It’s hard not to give a 5/5 for service after that. Plus, like we mentioned earlier, the gentleman who took our order was very kind and had no problem discussing the menu with us.

    In the comments last time, one reader mentioned they would like to see us talk about value. Did we feel like what we paid was fair for what we got? Their prices are quite reasonable and they market themselves as a ‘2 for 1’ joint. The price inside on their wall menu assumes you’re ordering 2 pizzas:


    We ordered 2 medium pizzas and after tax it was $24. $12/pizza we felt was very reasonable. If you order from Panago, their specialty pizzas will cost you about $15 for a medium so we consider this to be excellent value because it has that homey feel vs a corporate joint.

    Overall, we enjoyed the pizza we had, and we enjoyed it the next day also as there was one whole pizza of leftovers, and the value was great. Fix the onion issues and this place was close to perfect for us.

    Food – 4/5 – less onion, more bacon

    Service 5/5 – right on time

    Kid Friendliness – not applicable

    Decor – not applicable

    Value – 5/5 – can’t complain about the prices

    Never stop adventuring!