Poke Five

Poke Five is a great option if you’re into poke bowls. It’s a lot cleaner-looking and the ingredients are more fresh compared to the other poke places I’ve been to. You can choose to customize your bowl by picking toppings and sauces or you can get a signature bowl, which is already pre-set with all the ingredients.

The essentials

Add-ons: veggies, sauces, egg

I was invited to try one of their 5 signature bowls today so I got The Drive which has salmon, shrimp, crab, avocado, edamame, cucumber, radish, jalapeno, teri-mayo sauce, seaweed, and tobiko. My boyfriend got the Akuma Tuna, which was apparently ranked 3rd in the best poke challenge! It had ahi tuna, kimchi, avocado, tobiko, teri-mayo sauce, and the best component, a shoyu egg! All bowls come with kale. They also flame torch the seafood for both of these bowls which is a great touch. To top it all off, you can add up to 3 toppings to your bowl ranging from wasabi peas, fried garlic, tempura bits, walnuts, toasted coconut, ramen bits, etc.

Toppings

Our poke bowls were prepared very nicely. I was surprised at how so many different ingredients were assembled in a way that looked really presentable and delicious. And the portions were much bigger than expected! I wish that the kale pieces were smaller though.. because some of the ones we got were a mouthful and kale isn’t exactly the softest thing to eat.

Akuma Tuna

Both bowls were tasty but I liked the Akuma Tuna better. Its flavours were more prominent and it had more moisture compared to The Drive, which I felt was a bit dry and lacking in sauces. I think the kimchi component in the Akuma Tuna also helped a lot in providing some extra moisture and a refreshing, pickled taste. The shoyu egg was marinated well and cooked just right.

The Drive

The Drive was good too but I couldn’t really fully appreciate all the different types of seafood (salmon, shrimp, crab) because there wasn’t a lot of each item, and their flavours were masked by everything else in the bowl. I do like the option of variety, but I feel like something that just focuses on one type of seafood/protein such as the Akuma Tuna packs in a lot more flavour. One thing that I really liked about The Drive, though, was the wakame seaweed on top.

Overall, a really solid meal from this relatively new restaurant. I noticed a lot of people eating here and getting takeout so I hope it continues to do well because it is one of the nicer poke shops around Vancouver. The nice thing is that it’s very accessible too, being just one block away from Commercial-Broadway Station. I wouldn’t mind coming back again to try their other signature bowls or to create my own 😉


Food – 8/10

Ambiance – 8/10

Value – 8/10

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Brewery & The Beast Vancouver 2018

If you’re a meat lover and haven’t heard about this year’s hottest summer event, you’re missing out! Brewery & The Beast is an annual meat festival that showcases products and delicious offerings from local restaurants. It emphasizes sustainable eating and supports local farmers and growers, as well as our food & drink industry. Tickets are about $100 per person, which includes all food and drink. It was my first time attending (thanks to a pair of tickets that I won – shoutout to TEAMCHOMP and Brewery & The Beast for the contest)! It was quite the event and I’d be extremely happy if I got to go again next year.

As soon as you walk in, you can see (and smell) all the different kinds of meat being grilled including whole pigs:

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There was an incredible selection of restaurants serving pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, seafood, and so on.

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Cache Creek 45 Day Dry Age Beef Tomahawk – Two Rivers Specialty Meats

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Grilled Beef Tongue – Market by Jean Georges

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Jamaican Jerk Pork Loins – Johnston’s

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Brant Lake Wagyu Cheesesteak Slider – BC Kitchen at Parq Vancouver

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Charcoal Grilled Beef Ribeye Skewer – Atlas Steak + Fish Burnaby

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Chashu Pork Yakitori and Bacon & Bourbon Ice Cream Sandwich – Nightingale

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Confit Turkey Leg – Juke’s Fried Chicken

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Kalbi Beef Short Rib – Pidgin

A few of the restaurants participating this year included: Adesso, Araxi, ATLAS Steak + Fish, Au Comptoir, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Hawksworth, Heritage Asian Eatery, Juke, Nightingale, Pidgin, Royal Dinette, Shokunin, Torafuku, Two Rivers Specialty Meats, Wildebeest and many, many more! See the menu below for a full list of all the offerings.

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Drinks were aplenty as well, with Phillips Brewing Company serving up their various craft beers. There was also wine from Mission Hill and cider from Left Field Cider Co.

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Phillips Brewing Co.

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Non-alcoholic options were available too: soda from Phillips Soda Works, Kombucha from Bucha Brew Kombucha, and coffee from Oughtred Coffee and Tea.

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Phillips Soda Works

One of the highlights for me was Berrymobile‘s amazing selection of fresh fruits. Just look at those beautiful colours! Everything was so juicy and sweet, especially the cherries. This was very refreshing and honestly, such a nice break from all the meat.

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Berrymobile Fruit

Live music by the Electric Timber Co. was playing throughout the day. Thanks for keeping us entertained!

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Electric Timber Co.

There were so many more things I wanted to try from different stalls but my stomach could only hold so much! Favourite vendors of mine were: Two Rivers Specialty Meats, Heritage Asian Eatery (their BBQ lamb breast was incredible), Maenam, Berrymobile, Houweling’s Tomatoes, and Bucha Brew Kombucha.

Had an amazing time out here at the Brewery & The Beast and I highly recommend checking out this event next year if you’re looking for something to do in Vancouver in the summer. They also host it in Calgary and Victoria so keep an eye out for it too if you’re in those areas! Tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to grab them if you’re interested. The Calgary event has now passed, but the one in Victoria is coming up on Sunday, Sept. 23 and tickets are now on sale, which can be purchased on their website.

Goodbowl

Goodbowl is a relatively new restaurant located in Richmond. I don’t normally go to this area so it was great that I had the opportunity to try it thanks to an Instagram contest that I won. (I received 2 free bowls and juices.) Goodbowl really advocates for healthy eating and healthy living, which you can immediately tell from their large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Fruits and veggies for juicing

Their juices are made from 100% real fruit and veggies and you can see them make it right in front of you with this juicing machine! You get to choose any combination of fruits and veggies to make your juice. A few of the options are kale, cucumber, apple, pear, carrot, celery, beet, pineapple, pomegranate, etc.

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Goowbowl before being grilled

Their bowls are also completely customizable. A regular Goodbowl is around $10, which is actually very reasonable because you can add a bunch of different produce to your bowl and it’s all displayed in front of you. Then you pick your protein: beef, chicken, pork, or tofu. Prawns are available as well, but it’s about a $4 increase in price.

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Food on the grill!

Once you’ve selected your ingredients, you can then choose from a variety of different sauces. Again, you can choose and mix as many you want or you can go with one of their mixes. Once you’ve customized your bowl to your liking, they then cook it for you on their huge Mongolian grill! It’s fun to watch them cook your food. Within a few minutes, it’s all ready to go!

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Goodbowl and Juice

I really enjoyed my food and juice! Everything was fresh and the cook on my bowl was great. I love the idea of having all of these different options available because you can create a new meal every time. Especially their large selection of signature sauces, which is what gives the food their distinct flavours! Overall, a really satisfying and pleasant meal from Goodbowl. It’s the type of meal that isn’t oily and won’t make you feel too heavy afterwards. The food is actually quite healthy but tasty at the same time! The service was friendly as well. Even though it’s not a typical sit-down restaurant where someone takes your order at your table and serves you food, the staff were very attentive and asked if we needed any water and so on. Would definitely come back if I’m in the area again.


Food – 8.5/10
Service – 8.5/10
Ambiance – 8/10

Vij’s Rangoli

I still haven’t been to Vij’s Restaurant but at least I finally tried their sister restaurant, Vij’s Rangoli! Had dinner here with a friend a couple of days ago. My first impression of the restaurant was that it looked more posh and upscale compared to other Indian restaurants. They also had a lovely outdoor seating area which is perfect during the summer! We were greeted warmly and promptly seated at a table.

The menu had starters and snacks for sharing, as well as entrees. I thought the prices were quite high, especially since most of the options were vegetarian..

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Kale, Jackfruit and Cauliflower Curry with Rice and Naan ($18)

I ended up ordering the Kale, Jackfruit and Cauliflower Curry which is served with rice and some naan. On first glance, it looked quite small but it was actually enough food for me — the naan is much more filling than it looks! I enjoyed the whole dish. The curry was tasty, as were the veggies in them, and I loved the Indian basmati rice and naan. I’ve never had jackfruit as part of a dish so it was really interesting for me. I’m not too familiar with Indian food so I can’t make a comment on how authentic this is, but I did feel that the restaurant was more Westernized, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The food was yummy and the service was great. I just wish the prices were a bit cheaper…


Food – 8/10
Service – 9/10
Ambiance – 8/10
Value – 7/10

Rangoli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake – Worth the Hype?

Vancouver’s first ever Uncle Tetsu shop has opened in Metrotown just a couple of weeks ago. It’s a Japanese cheesecake chain that’s been around since 1990. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t seem to be very popular in Japan itself (I asked many of my Japanese friends whether they knew this store, and 90% of them said they had never heard of it). After doing a bit of Googling, I found out that it was established in Fukuoka, Japan and there are only a few locations here. Most of its popularity actually comes from their shops in other countries, namely Taiwan and China. Now, the brand has many locations in different parts of the world, including here in Canada (Toronto & Vancouver). As seen with the recent opening of Japanese big brands like Uniqlo and Muji, there was a lot of anticipation and hype for Uncle Tetsu as well, evident by the crazy long lineups. Due to its high demand, the cheesecakes are limited to only 1 per person. If you want more, you have to line up again!..

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Finally got it!

After 2 hours of eagerly waiting in line for these coveted cheesecakes, we finally got them! Part of what made the whole process so slow was not only due to the crazy people lining up for them (me included), but also because they only had 1 oven and 1 register to pay! With such limited resources and staff, it’s no wonder it’s such a dreadfully slow process to just get 1 cheesecake!

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Cheesecakes waiting to be stamped

The cheesecakes are 7 inches and $13 each which are quite pricey, in my opinion. They also sell honey madeleines (4 for $7.50 or 1 for $2.50) and rusks which are basically sliced cheesecakes that are baked again to make them crispy. The rusks were sold out when we got there but we ended up buying the honey madeleines to try out as well.

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Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake ($13)

So… how was the taste? Well, to be completely honest, I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting a rich flavour and melt in your mouth texture from these cheesecakes as advertised but it fell short of my expectations. The texture was pretty good – it was light and airy but it didn’t have that melt-in-your-mouth feeling. What was more of a let-down, though, was actually the flavour. It tasted eggy rather than cheesy. However, I did find that it tasted much better after being chilled in the fridge. I much preferred the honey madeleines, which were buttery and rich without being overly sweet.

To be fair, I’ve had authentic Japanese cheesecake before from Osaka’s famous Rikuro’s Cheesecake and I guess I was expecting something of that calibre. Uncle Tetsu’s is not bad, but it’s not amazing either and I just can’t justify lining up so long for this. When there’s no longer a line up to get these and the hype subsides, I wouldn’t mind going back to give it another shot. However, until that time comes, I would suggest avoiding waiting hours in line for just a “good but not great” cheesecake (unless you enjoy lining up)!

Conclusion: Not worth the hype


Food – 7/10
Value – 6.5/10