Sunday, December 12, 2010

Acme Cafe

I love trying new things, and with the abundance of restaurants in Vancouver, I don't often repeat a restaurant.. so the fact that I have been to Acme Cafe 3 times this year really says a lot..

Located on Hastings, this little cafe looks a little out of place next to the model stripper shoes store, sketchy ass country bar across the street (where a friend of a friend got stabbed at..), and save on meats to the left. Walking in, you are greeted warmly by the staff into a room of brown and white booths and circular bar seating. with pies and other delectable goods placed by the cashier, you already know this will be a good meal.

The first time I was here it was after a massive hike and I needed somethin to refuel. I ordered the turkey sandwich with the broccoli slaw and chips. I fell in love. Cranberry sauce + turkey is my weakness. but what I hate the most is either -super mushy turkey or too much cranberry sauce, not enough turkey. Well neither happened and it was a great sandwich for 12 dollars. It came with a broccoli slaw that I really liked because I liked the raisins, giving it a sweet component I don't usually expect in a slaw, and the chips were very crisp. It was great. Friend decided to eat a sandwich he made prior to our trek . whatever, his loss. The cafe was still relatively new, and there weren't a lot of customers on that day.

The second time I came here, it was very packed, I had to wait about 10 minutes for a booth. Wanting to try something new, I ordered the meatloaf sandwich with the lovely slaw and chips. Friend had the mac and cheese and we both liked our meals. We also ordered a piece of apple pie to share since I've heard raves about it.. unfortunately we weren't a fan because it was cold :(

The 3rd time we came here was before the game where chicity absolutely schooled the canucks (I am a hawks fan). Everything by rogers arena was packed (for obvious reasons) but luckily acme only had a few occupied seats. Ordered the good ol turkey sandwich and I remembered why I liked it so much all over again. friend had the roast beef sandwich and cheddar broccoli soup that was finished in less than 15 minutes. jesus. I think he liked it. maybe.

I really like this cafe, and if ever I am in the area again, I will most likely come back and try something new- like the shrimp and guac sandwich or tuna :) I like the color tones and service has always been warm and friendly every time I've been here. I've recommended this little cafe to many others, and they've all had nothing but good things to say. I guess 12 dollars for a sandwich meal is a bit steep, but everything is made from scratch and quality is great in my opinion. and with 7 dollar crappy ass on the go sandwiches (I am looking at you starbucks) being sold nowadays, I think acme is fine. I really like the abundance of "new"er restaurants popping up around gastown- meat & bread and calabash bistro are also must-trys if you haven't yet :)

Acme Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

L'Abattoir & Pair Bistro

So sorry for the lack of posts.. So I've been back in Vancouver for a couple months now and have been eating out more than ever.. which completely goes against my "stop eating out after chi" promise but I just can't help it.. too many restaurants..too much good food! I promise more posts.. both from chi and van soon :)

L'Abattoir is a relatively new restaurant (well, in my books anyways). Located in Gastown, it is adding to the abundance of foodie choices with Cork & Fin, The Diamond, Boneta, Irish Heather...etc

Room is 2 floors, with the bottom being the bar serving up some unique and fresh cocktails. There is also a room in the back that seems more secluded and private. We sat upstairs overlooking the bar. I usually try not to eat the bread served at restaurants but L'Abattoir offers 3 different breads that I couldn't help but devour it all. oi.

I ordered the duck, friend had a salad. I loved my dish. Duck was perfectly cooked and the sauces/garnishes went very well with it. The salad was unique and extremely fresh. For dessert, I asked Paul, the gm, to surprise us. He picked the chocolate dessert which was very very decadent. Dinner was great, couldn't have asked for any better. Though a friend of mine recently went and recommended the scallops and wings, and the tapioca dessert.. which I will have to get next time I go. Service was great and accommodating. I was very happy.

Pair Bistro on Urbanspoon I went to Pair Bistro this past week. It has been on my to go list for quite some time now but it's a bit far for me .. I am so glad we went though , this restaurant embodies "pacific northwest" to a t. The restaurant is decorated with Native American art and proudly boasts the use of locally grown ingredients from all over BC.. from Chilliwack cornbread, to Wapiti Elk, to Kettle Valley Lamb.. it was quite refreshing.

I had the peace region bison ribs which were very tender accompanied with cornbread and salad. The blackberry sauce was different but added a sweet component to the usual smokey flavor of bbq sauce.. I like. The cornbread was soft and crumbly, while the radish slaw was extremely fresh. Friend had the shellfish medley from Cortes island which were very beautiful and tasteful. What a neighborhood gem, it's a must try for locals/tourists alike.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cupcake Insanity [Chicago]

As I wrote before, I had almost 30 fricking cupcakes in Chicago. That's basically like one cupcake a day for a month! gosh! I am home and luckily I only gained 2 pounds. I thought I had gained at least 10. Anyways, here is a compiled list of the cupcake madness I went on in Chicity. I think I m only missing like 4 places. Get ready to freaking drool if you love cupcakes.

The first one I ever went to was Swedish Bakery in Andersonville. I really didn't mean to buy a cupcake here but that was what the worker there recommended me getting. Now this is a nice little bakery.. but I didn't find there goods to be very traditional.. especially if you are recommending the red velvet and chocolate cupcakes to me and not having any fresh cinnamon rolls around. The cupcake was large, but it wasn't very good in my opinion. it was rather sugary.

I went to Sugar Bliss Cupcake Boutique located in the loop after lunch at elephant & castle one day(whyyy did I go there, when they are in vancouver. ugh). It is rather new and filled with beautifully decorated cupcakes. They also have mini ones if you can't have the whole thing. They have a good selection of cupcakes, unforunately the pretty flowers they decorated on my cupcakes fell off when I got home :( They weren't bad, not super good.. but this started my cupcake craze..

I found More which was only 2 blocks from my apt. They don't have a ton of selections at the counter, but here, it is quality over quantity. The cupcakes are a bit more expensive but you can find some very different unique cupcakes here.. including Blt, lemongrass, etc etc. On the day I was there, I chose the white chocolate and chocolate marshmallow. What can I say? they were both HEAVENLY. I really wanted to come back here and try the rest of the flavors.. but there were too many other cupcake stores.. on to the next one!

Everyone in Chicago raves about Molly's Cupcakes. Everyone I talk to asks if I've been here so I knew this had to be a to-go place for me. Stepping inside, I see them hard at work making a batch of frosting for their cupcakes and I was already smiling. The place is extremely cozy serving all kinds of cupcakes. Delicious! I really liked that they had incoporated real fruits in the cupcakes, and the frosting on all 3 were absolutely to die for.

Another popular recommendation I received was Sweet Mandy B's. The shop is really cute but I personally found the cupcakes to be rather normal and nothing out of the ordinary..

We decided to have a picnic at the contemporary arts musuem one tuesday because they have jazz in the back. I brought the cupcakes and I decided to try out Swirlz. She was extremely gracious and kind but the cupcakes was a complete letdown. It was expensive and they were nothing amazing. Especially the "surprise" one which wasn't much of a surprise at all..

Sensational Bites is located by Southport. It is an extremely cute store with lots of delectable goodies. I got 3 cupcakes- red velvet (my staple), cookies & cream, and strawberry lemonade . unforunately, they didn't wow me like the first couple places I went to.. :( A week after, my friends tell me of a place called Southport Bakery and Cafe where, they only serve vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, but they are SO good people line up for them and there is a limit to how many each can buy. Dang, I wish I had stopped by there..

The day Sprinkles Cupcakes opened, I heard there were lineups down the street, for blocks, for this place. I was going to stop by after work, but in fear of the lines, went to Hershey's Chocolates down the street instead. The cupcakes are SO cute, with chocolate bar sticking out. I also got a smores bar, and I think of all the cupcakes I've had, these here at Hersheys were by far the sweetest!! Every bite was sugar.

I made a point to go to Phoebe's Cupcakes and got ABSOLUTELY lost and ended up giving up on this place and going for banh mi instead, but the banh mi I wanted to go to was extremely sketch so I wandered to Cupcake store after an hour.. and I am really glad I tried this place. Though I haven't heard much raves or reviews for them, This has got to be hands down my favorite cupcake store in Chicago. The cupcake was So fluffy, So moist, So Perfect! I was in love.

I finally stopped by Sprinkles at 4pm, and the line up was a little more bearable. Funny I actually tried to go to Sprinkles back in LA but we got lost and went to Spago instead (I get lost quite often, it adds to my adventure). I bought 4 cupcakes here just to see what the hype was about. They were pretty good. Very moist cupcakes, but I don't know if I would line up for blocks for this place..

Fox & Obel is a supermarket that supposedly has great cupcakes too. They are MASSIVE! I had to eat it with a fork but it was alright. The Last place I tried was Sarah's Pastries & Candies located near More and Sprinkles. Their selection of cupcakes is not as large, but I got a vanilla buttercream.. and it sure lived up to it's name. the frosting was EXTREMELY buttery.. felt like I was eating butter..

I also bought some cupcakes from Twisted Baker the last day for my coworkers. I also heard great things from here so I hope they liked them!

And to top it all off, here's a giant massive cupcake I decorated when I shadowed the pastry chef for a day at one of our restaurants. gawwgeous. hahah

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Table fifty-two [chicago]

Oh my god I've had 26 cupcakes in the last 2 months..and counting.. I don't even know why, I never even eat Cupcakes in vancouver!? major cupcake post to come..

I've never had southern home cooking before and always wanted to. Good ol fried chicken with a side of buttery mashed potatoes.. that's all I really know and how can you go wrong really? I don't know much about this type of food but if it's anyone who was going to cook me some southern food, who else better than Art Smith. I don't remember much about him from Top Chef, just that he was really happy jolly guy.. :)

The restaurant off elm street did not fit in to its surroundings. It was a small white building with touches of green and the number 52 on the front. next to this was a empty grass ridden lot, and a ton of tall apartments. On the corner was a Popeyes and an old man selling knock off handbags. Walking into the restaurant, we were transported to a whole different world.

Dark with sunlight coming in from the windows, the white and green with the wood fire oven in the back created an extremely cozy atmosphere. The plates were absolutely gorgeous and the room was also decorated with paintings of singers with upbeat music playing in the back. Right when we sat down, we had about 3 different waiters serve us water, deviled eggs, and goat cheese biscuit to start. It was a little overwhelming at first, seeing all these staff running around, but they all flowed with each other.. that's a weird thing to say, but the service all worked together and it was really attentive.

We ordered the duo crab cake to start for 16 dollars, and I had the salmon, friends had fried chicken and sweet potatoes and cornbread, and the other had the fish of the day.. which was striped bass I believe.

The deviled egg was very creamy, a nice little appy to start, and the goat cheese biscuit was soft and cheesy. That was nice, since I have grown a fondness for goat cheese..Last week, I sat in on a cheese tasting and sampled at least 30 AMAZING cheeses (mostly goat), and wow.. talk about mega cheese overload coming from a girl who usually buys the cheapest mixed cheese at superstore. I felt so fat after I walked for 3 hours.

Our crab cake was alright.. a little expensive for what we ordered.. but they were good nonetheless. I don't have much to say about this one, but I guess I could have done without. Our mains arrive and my salmon was SOO delicious. I asked for medium rare and it was perfectly cooked. Perfect! it was like butter, the fish. and the blueberry sauce added the sweetness it needed and the vegetables that came along were soo fresh it was amazing. Friends had no complaints on their dishes.. I will comment the sweet potatoes were a little too sweet (syrupy) for me but the cornbread was HEAVEN. it was sweet, warm, crumbly.. yum!!

Dishes were swooped away and we were presented by the desserts menu. The pecan pie and hummingbird cake looked great, but alas no room in my little belly. We were given little marshmallow sweet potato pie that was a nice little after thought to our dinner.

My friend, who was from Texas, had no complaints to this dinner. She said the dishes all reminded her of southern home cooking, and the fried chicken was quite good, but not as good as her mothers :)

The ambience, service, food, all transported me to a different time and's rare to find a restaurant that good, but I think art smith did it for me. Good way to end my Chicago summer, home soon..

Table Fifty-Two on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jam [Chicago]

I am honestly in love with brunch here in Chicago. Not only are there restaurants that specialize ONLY in the art of breakfast food, not only do they serve large portions, but they also like to put twists and creativity in their dishes.. and they do it well.

After finding out about Jam, we quickly planned it into our weekend to go first thing in the morning (to beat the rush). This cash only byob is subtly located on Damen St in Ukrainian Village. Being such a beautiful day, we decided to sit outside on their lovely rather big patio. It had a backyard vibe because of all the plants and their dog and cat on the side.

The menu is small but filled with breakfast favorites with a unique twist you would not expect. Egg Sandwich with pork cheek, ricotta, and green apple ketchup.. Pork Loin with poached egg, rice grits, and cumin spiced carrot puree.. There is definitely nothing bland or boring about this menu!
We decided to order a half order of the Malted Custard french toast (with macerated fig & Quince, citrus cream, and pink peppercorn) to start, and I had the eggs benny (with pork belly, and pea hollandaise), and friend had the buckwheat crepe with braised lamb and hazelnut-sage glaze. Under the direction of Chef Jeffrey Mauro, who has worked at Charlie Trotter's and North Pond, our waitress assures us we cannot go wrong with whatever we get. She was right :)

To start, we got a amuse bouche of a snicker doodle cupcake. A nice sweet bite to start. I love amuse bouches :) Our french toast was perfect size for us since I am not a big fan of them. It was soft with a burst of custard flavor, going well with the fig & quince. The only thing that was offputting about this dish was the peppercorn.. which I did not like at all.

Our mains come and this has to be the prettiest eggs benny I have ever seen. The pork belly went fantastic with it and I loved how the sauces were on the side so it didn't overload my eggs benny. The lamb crepe was soft and flavorful, but could prove to be a little too heavy for a breakfast.

Service was prompt with our water glasses filled at all times. Having overheard our convo about where else to eat, our waitress gets the sous chef in training to give us some recommendations on diner joints (since we hinted how much we love them). The only downside I think, is that they don't have business cards (weird). Other than that, make sure you try Jam for brunch! :)

Jam on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Glenn's Diner [Chicago]

Last Summer, I had cable. and not just cable, I had up to channel 59 (I don't usually have cable, I just need ninjavideos and in my case right now, hulu :]). I really didn't care for all these channels, except one- the food network. Because I didn't really have internet last summer (what a pain), I would fall asleep watching channel 52. One of the shows I frequently watched was Diner Drive ins and Dives. Man, that show is a godsend. Greasy, oily, deep fried, meaty, massive portions, etc of food, how can you not like it?? So imagine my excitedness when I had a chance to go to Glenn's Diner.. one episode I actually vividly remember watching (because I remember the cereal boxes ha).

Located right at Montrose station, this little diner is known for serving 16 fresh fish daily. Inside, outside seating, either way you choose, you still get to see the chalkboard written fish specials of the day. We decided to share a crab cakes to start followed by Rainbow Trout for me and Mahi Mahi for friend. The crab cakes weren't bad, they were filled with crab meat but they weren't very big. Apparently Hugo Frog's has the best crab cakes. I will have to check it out soon :)

Our mains arrive and they look SO good. Not only was the piece of fish massive, but it was very fresh as well. My rainbow trout with pecan sauce went so perfectly together. Served with asparagus and potatoes, I finished up every last bite of it. It was made so well. My friend's mahi mahi, however, was overcooked :( How unfortunate. it looked nice though.

Service was great, and the desserts looked good but we were too full to eat on. Now I have to try Kuma's Corner and Depot Diner from the show :) Link to the Clip

Glenn's Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yolk [chicago]

I am basically IN LOVE with Chicago. This city has it all.. shopping, tall buildings, beach, and obv the food. Last morning after tanning on the beach (which is 5 minutes from us, as opposed to 40 minutes before in Van), we were craving breakfast food so I suggested Yolk. The place was raved about and the menu sounded DELICIOUS.. might I add it was also extremely close to where we live. Score.

Turning onto Wells St, we see a giant mass of people. Ah crap, there's a massive lineup. But I must say, the people at Yolk are extremely efficient and the table turnovers is quick and fast. Although they quoted us 30-45 minutes, names were called every 1-2 minutes so they were making it down the list of names quickly. Yes, it did take the quoted time.. but what did we expect on July 4th weekend.

We kept busy during this time by deciding on what to eat.. since the menu was quite large and I honestly wanted EVERYTHING. I was craving fruits and wanted Granola but my friend told me she would hit me if I waited for 45 minutes for some fruit and granola. She has a point. So after basically drooling over the guy who sat by the window's dish of something that looked like veggie omelette, I decided on getting the green garden omelette that came with fruit/potato and pancake/toast for 9.99. Friend got the scrambler for 7.99 that came with the same sides. Other things I wanted to try a lot were the tour de france (sample of the 3 french breads for 9.99) and the eggs benny (supposedly best in the whole chi?) and obv.. the yogurt and granola. :(

Finally having our name called, we quickly ordered. The restaurant is pretty large and food was bustling out the kitchen at record speed and my gosh, there was a LOT of food. We finally got our order and WOW it was MASSIVE. For a side of fruits, I honestly expected those stupid fruit salads of melons, pineapple, and grapes in small portions.. but they gave us a watermelon slice, a bunch of grapes, 3 orange rounds and a pineapple slice (which I was CRAVING). I was impressed. The omelette was huge as well absolutely filled with veggies such as asparagus, tomato, mushroom, etc with sour cream and cheese on top. Man if I was hungover, this would have been HEAVEN. It was still pretty good but I was soo full I couldn't finish it all, the omlette was also a little too runny/watery for my liking.

Loved it, well worth the wait. I can't wait to try Lou Mitchell's and Ann Sather now. more chicago posts to come.. and vancouver too :)

Yolk on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Current Raves

Goodbye Vancouver! I am jetting off to chicago for 2 months. I might make some sporadic posts (since there are a gazillion restaurants I never posted about) and there might be some chicity eats reviewed. Anyways, have a great summer vancityfoodies!

here are just some quick posts about some restaurants I've been to recently :)

After hiking butzen lake, we stopped at Rehanah's Roti and it was PERFECT. We were tired and these massive rotis really hit the spot. I got the beef roti which was FILLED with huge chunks of beef and potatoes. delicious. The only thing is they are a bit on the pricey side

We stopped by La Brasserie for lunch one day and both ordered the special- the rabbit sandwich. The price wasn't bad (think it was 11ish?) and it was really really good. We enjoyed it a lot and I want to come back here for dinner one night.

Before rollerblading, we picked up some banh mi's from One Saigon in Downtown. They have daily specials and luckily that day, it was 2 banh mi's for a special price. These subs are delicous. They have so much filling and bread was crunchy. Maybe I was starving but I quite liked them. I went to Tung Hing recently and I did not like..

Bo Laksa King has been raved about by quite possibly everyone in the blogosphere. It is located in a small supermarket and their "kitchen" is extremely minimal but the food is delicious. I don't know much about laksa or burmese food so who better to bring with me then my burmese friend :P she raved about bo laksa and ranted about the crappy ass burmese laksa at bowl of stars. there you go. Authenticity: check.

JAMBO GRILL! Awesome. though they gave us beef instead of chicken, this place is awesome if you are hungry and craving meat.

Locus.. friend said it: I think this would a better place at night. Gotta admit- they got some good sangria, but 12 bucks for 5 prawns? uhh.. give me more alcohol.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche on Urbanspoon Who knew skipping class one day would lead me to fancy dining of steak and lobster at le gavroche! I guess it's a good thing I don't scrub it out when I go to school :) After being pestered every 2 minutes to leave class leave class, I finally hopped on a bus to meet a friend dt in search of some grub.. who needs to learn about npv when I got free food waiting?? (don't worry I am not majoring in finance, I will not be dealing with your money one day haha). We walked on over to Oru only to discover there was a private function! UGH we almost got pooped on by a bird too walking here. (hence why I always dodge birds when I am walking.. it's actually quite a funny sight I've been told) having absolutely no idea where to go.. since market was veto-ed and I wanted something worthwhile, I suggested possibly Le Gavroche. Now if you have read my bio, you would know that I don't memorize addresses and usually just walk until I 'hit' the restaurant (1 in 4 this fails.. I am willing to take the chance). However, Le Gavroche was a bit different since I have honestly only seen this restaurant ONCE and it was also by mindless wandering around (yes I tend to walk a lot.. though not so much anymore after a 4 hr 8k walk I recently did out of the blue in sandals.. we then realized, once you start walking in Stanley Park by the water, there really is no way to cut through/walk back once you have reached halfway. oi).

I knew the GENERAL direction of the restaurant but really had no clue where it was HAH. after 15 minutes of me assuring friend we are walking in the 'general' direction, he got fed up and finally checked good ol' iphone. good thing he did hah because this 'general' direction I was heading in really was very GENERAL. as in.. a few streets down not quite at all.. hah.

We finally saw the restaurant, being oh so happy since we had been looking to find a restaurant to eat for some time now, I ran on over only to drop my iphone on the cold hard concrete ground :( to this day, i have only had this phone for 5 months, and I have dropped on ground, dropped and KICKED by some passerby, and dropped in a puddle.. as you can see, I am not allowed to have nice things.

We walked in and it immediately reminded me of Lupo (never got a chance to write a review so I'll sum up lupo in a sentence: Quaint restaurant serving delicious food served by gracious/lovely people). I think it is the whole house thing going on, really adds to the ambience. Anyways, we walked upstairs and were greeted warmly by three of the servers. The restaurant is very very small with the majority of tables occupied. We sat down and were given the menus, with their current 3 course special feature of lobster (I think it was 35 dollars?). YUM. YUM YUM. I friggin love lobster. My parents used to buy lobster from T&T steam it and we'd each eat one accompanied by butter- mmMmM

I ordered the lamb sweetbread and lobster, steak and lobster, and a creme brulee. Friend got lobster consomme, lobster thermadour, and pecan pie for dessert. mmm I don't think I have any complaints about anything. Everything was really really really good. I think my steak was a little too much on the raw side (moo moo) but I don't have major complaints nor did friend since we finished everything. During our time at the restaurant, there were no table turnovers and we were the last ones in and the last ones out the door. Nonetheless the service was so gracious and nice they never once rushed us out the door even when they were cleaning up ready to close up into the night. I wonder if this restaurant only serves one round of customers a night.. I sure hope they stay profitable because I would hate to see this restaurant close due to big chain bullies. Le Gavroche is perfect for romantic dates or special events.. or you know, random thursday dinner for uni students; one with a backpack the other with colorful striped mittens :P :) Thank you for the lovely dinner, I'll be back!