This weekend we went to Yaletown Brewing Company, a brew pub in the middle of Yaletown. Apparently, the restaurant is part of the same Mark James family as other brew pubs such as Taylor's Crossing in North Vancouver and Dix in Yaletown, among others. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon when we arrived. There was a large and busy L-shaped patio that lined Hamilton and Mainland streets, but we chose to sit in the quieter inside. However, the doors and windows were fully open so we could feel the breeze move through the restaurant. The space had a pretty nice atmosphere--wooden tables, comfy chairs, exposed ceiling ducts and pipes, and typical beer decor, ie. metal kegs transformed into light fixtures.
We had just eaten at Nuba a couple of hours earlier, so we weren't that hungry (side note: check out the updated Nuba entry here). Shane is a bit of a beer enthusiast and wanted to try their brews, so we got the Flight, which is a 6 once sample of each of their 7 brews in the cutest tiny glasses, plus their seasonal brew.
The glasses of beer ranged from light (Mainland Lager), to very dark Guiness-type (Warehouse Stout), to wheat-y (Hills Special Wheat), caramel-y (Downtown Brown), and fruity (seasonal Raspberry Ale). Shane's preferences veered towards the dark beers, while I mostly enjoyed the lighter and fruity brews, though we both liked the wheat beer. I must admit, I'm not much of a beer drinker--I'm more of a beer sipper. The weird thing was that there were no prices on their beer menu, so we were a little surprised to get the bill and see that the Flight sampler was a cool $14.
We ordered a couple of appetizers. I was surprised to see fried green tomatoes ($7.99) on their menu, because I never see it on menus in Vancouver. Maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't strike me as a common dish. I have a particular fondness for fried green tomatoes. I learned about it after seeing the movie of the same name and learned how to make it. It's pretty delicious. Unfortunately, the dish that came was a big disappointment. There were four slices (maybe one tomato?), and it was on top of some pink mayo dressing ("red pepper rouille"), drizzled with balsamic and topped with slivers of basil. It was wrong. First of all, the slices were way too thick, and so it was really soggy to eat. Second, the tomato wasn't as green as it should be, which also made it soggy. The thin "panko" crust kind of just flaked off in large pieces. There was no tomato flavour; green tomatoes should have a tartness to it, and this tomato was a resident in Bland City. We both hated the sauce. It was weirdly Thousand Island-ish, and just didn't go with the tomatoes.
The hot wings ($11.99) were better. They are "southern buttermilk battered", and the batter was really good, quite different from the usual wings you get in pubs. However, the bad thing about that is that when you drench it in sauce, you kinda take away the crispy buttermilk batter crunch that is just so good. It was a conflicting mix of mostly soggy and sorta-crunchy. The hot sauce was a nice Louisiana style, so it had good flavour. The dish was a bit of a contradiction. I think it would be better with sauce on the side, as a dip. The batter should be the star here.
I can't say too much about the food here, as we've only tried appetizers, but I can say that Yaletown Brewing is a pretty good place if your wallet is feeling fat and you've got a hankering for good beer.
We have a cat named Pique. She is a little roly-poly and a sucker for anything food related. And sometimes I look at her and remember other cats I've had over the years and wonder about them. Of course, the thing is, we can never know what a cat is thinking.
But I found a few very old pictures of cats on this flickr group and this one, and I had to shake my head and smile. They are so charming.
I'm always fascinated by old pictures in general; these photos portray creatures and people that are long dead, yet there they are, in your hands, having a kind of life, as it were. And of course someday someone else will wonder the same thing about us.
I like these pictures and the others like them that are out there. It's incredible how cats are just cats, which is a bit tautological, but how true.
Around where we live there are numerous Korean stores, markets, and restaurants. There are a few on every corner, it’s really hard to decide which ones to visit. One of our favorites is Kimbab Jeonkuk, which can be hard to find because the restaurant actually doesn’t have an English sign, just Korean. It’s located in a mini-mall on North Road, behind the Santorini Greek Restaurant on the corner of North Road and Lougheed. This place specializes in Korean rolls (maki-like with usually cooked assorted filling and flavoured with sesame oil), and cold noodles. The restaurant itself is quite small and utilitarian, with simple tables and chairs for about 30 people. Everytime we’ve been there, it’s full of Koreans, so it’s probably pretty authentic.
We’ve eaten there numerous times before, after recommendation from our friend Ana, and one of my favorite things they have is that instead of giving each table a kettle of tea, they give a kettle of beef broth. I love this—the broth is savory and warm and delicious. However, this time we went we didn’t get the broth, I suppose because it was kind of hot out. We ordered what we usually get, cold noodles and a kimbab. They have 3 kinds of cold noodle: plain, spicy and I think a seafood one (?). This time our choice was the spicy cold noodle, with kimchi kimbab. Note about the menu—most of the menu is in both Korean and English, but for some reason the cold noodle part is only in Korean. The servers are pretty nice, though sometimes the English is limited, but you can ask them if you have questions about the menu.
The kimchi kimbab arrived first. We’ve ordered this before, but the kimchi is a little different this time—it was a lot sweeter. I’m not such a fan of sweet and savory, so I didn’t like this too much. We were also given a small plate of yellow turnip pickles as a side dish, but again, I didn’t eat this because it was too sweet for me.
The spicy cold noodles consisted of chewy clear noodles, some cold beef broth, Korean chili paste, slices of pork, boiled egg, cucumbers, sesame oil, and thin slices of pickled turnip. Once you stir it up the dish becomes an impressive red. It has great flavor and is very aromatic, and gives a nice heat to the tongue.
We like this restaurant—it has simple food and décor, but you can tell that a lot of love went into the dishes.
On Friday night we visited Tamarind Hill, a Malaysian restaurant in New Westminster, at 6th Ave and 7th Street. I'd been there before, and was very impressed by the flavours. The restuarant itself is small and colourful, and there are pretty touches in the decor, like the antique door that decorates the waiting area, and the amber 'tear-drop' light fixtures. We arrived at a quarter to 6pm, and we were the only ones in the restuarant, but as we dined, the restuarant quickly filled every seat.
The first dish we ordered was the lamb satays. They were okay, though I'm not a fan of lamb in general. The meat was flavorful (but it could be MORE flavorful), but the portion was small and the meat was also a bit on the dry side. This is served with a chunky peanut sauce that could have been spicier.
Next came the Mee Goreng, a spicy noodle dish with tofu, shrimp and vegetables. We love this. The noodles were delicious and spicy, with a hint of smokiness and sweetness.
We also ordered the okra, green beens and eggplant in a sambal sauce. The veggies were perfectly cooked, with the beans and okra still crispy, and the eggplant soft and yeiding. The sambal was a bit sweet, but there was balance and a salty complexity to the dish. This is great with rice. However, I had a couple of pieces of old (ie. stringy and tough) okra.
Probably our favorite dish of the night (aside from the noodles) was the Beef Rendang, which is essentially a beef curry with lemongrass and spices and looked a long time. The beef was tender, and the sauce had a underlying spiciness that was very pleasant. This and a bowl of rice is a kind of heaven.
The biggest surprise of the night was the dessert Ais Kacheng (sp?), which is shaved ice with grass jelly, corn, red beans, green chewy things, and sweet coconut milk. The last time I was here they served it in a tiny bowl, but this time it came in a huge soup bowl (there were 4 servings in this). What a deal! There is a version of this in Thailand as well, so the taste was familiar to me. It's so delicious and refreshing. It might look bad when stirred up, but don't be fooled by appearances! So yummy!
We had no idea the other dessert was going to be so big, so we'd ordered the deep fried bananas with ice cream. This is a pretty standard dessert, I don't have much to say about it.
We sure were stuffed after the meal!
Potatoes, Pita, Baba Ghanooj, Najib's Special
Shane ordered the Najib Special Plate (above), while I got the Falafel Plate (below). The pita came in a separate bowl. Yum! The weekend is the best time to go, most definitely. I hear from co-workers that it gets really hectic and you're likely to get ignored during the mid-week lunch (in this case, make sure to arrive at 11:30, when they open).
Yesterday I was walking home from skytrain along Lougheed highway and noticed that the blackberry bushes already had ripe berries on them. So I picked a few and ate a few. They are quite small this year, probably because of the heat, which accelerated ripening; however, they were delicious--sweet, rich, dark, and slightly warm from the sun.
I love blackberry season--it turns the regular Vancouverite into a livin' off the land gatherer and scavenger.