Just got back from a 4-day trip out to Vancouver/Whistler for some snowboarding. Don't think I've had to deal with so many moguls before! Anyways, on to the eats.
We arrived at YVR on Thursday afternoon. My original plan was for dim sum at the Richmond Kirin, but unfortunately with a flight delay we didn't get to Richmond til 4pm, after both Kirin and Sun Sui Wah stopped serving. Drove around aimlessly for a while, then ended up parking in the Imperial Plaza where Shaing Garden is located. They weren't serving either, so we decided to eat at Hon's Wun Tun House in the same complex. We got spicy beef tendon (too vinegary, not spicy), roast pork (deliciously crispy skin, meat was a bit salty but still good), a green bean with various ingredients lunch plate (just okay), a thick noodle dish (pretty good), the pork and century egg congee (nothing special), and extra Chinese donuts for the congee (un-needed and not that good either). I would say the overall meal was okay, but for $46 CAD with tax and tip for the five of us, it's quite a bargain. The roast pork was a real winner, though -- we ended up buying two more pounds of it to take up to Whistler and ended up eating half of it on the car ride up! :)
By the way, at the grocery store next to Hon's, I bought a Shatin pomelo for $3. I've never had Shatin pomelo before (and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area), but this was the most tasteless and dry pomelo I've ever had. Avoid it!
Anyways we met up with the rest of our group in Whistler. Originally I wanted to go to places recommended here on Chowhound but with a 12-person group it's hard to get people to agree on anything. People were worried that Araxi would be too expensive, but I think we ended up paying not that much less at inferior places. Oh well.
Friday night we had dinner at La Bosca in Whistler Village. Our group was seated into the Zulu room, which is a cozy private room that probably seats 8 more comfortably than our 12. I had the French onion soup and the Ahi Tuna Katsu. The soup was lacking in depth and complexity. My waiter said that the ahi would be served medium-rare; the fish, coated with black and white sesame seeds (strange katsu reference in my opinion), was closer to being medium (overcooked for me -- I recommend getting it rare) and not particularly fresh. However, the the ginger soya thin noodles that came with it had a striking bold taste that I enjoyed quite a bit. I also tasted the mixed green salad (dressing was overly tangy), the pepper filet medallion steak (good), the raspberry torte (good), and the gelato sampler of chocolate, vanilla, and raspberry (also good). My dining companions said they liked the gorgonzola-covered steak, the NY strip steak was not good, and the halibut left something to be desired. My portion of the meal (soup & ahi, no drinks) was $45 CAD including tax and tip.
Saturday night we went to Tex Corleone's BBQ Pizzeria in the Crystal Lodge hotel. I had fairly low expectations of this place but we weren't able to get reservations on short notice at the better restaurants for such a large group. Everyone shared the Tower of Onion Rings and the crab/spinanch dip. The onion rings were inherently quite poor, with greasy and soft breading. However, they were served with three sauces (ranch, bbq, and something that tasted like duck sauce) -- the bbq sauce especially hid the poor quality of the rings quite well and made them rather acceptable. I could not detect any crab in the crab/spinach dip -- it tasted just slightly better than one of those packets you buy at the supermarket and mix with various things for a party dip.
I ordered the Double Mountain Combo, which featured their pork and beef ribs, and shared a minestrone soup. The soup was more in between a chili (as far as the flavor, but without the thickness) and a minestrone, with a strange meaty taste. I did not particularly care for it. The pork rib portion of my entree was very dry and overcooked, not at all recommended. However, the beef ribs was very moist and deliciously fatty, so tender that it was almost falling off the bone. They were a big hit around the table. Those who had the chicken said it was quite acceptable. I also had a Bloody Mary-like drink which was fine but a bit on the tart side. Total for me was about $60 CAD. Our server was quite good, much better than you would expect for a touristy steak house for a large party.
Sunday five of us had dim sum at Sun Sui Wah on Main Street. The room is quite attractive for a big banquet-style Chinese restaurant, with lots of soft natural light from the large skylight and some modern touches in the decor. We got the beef tendon (a bit too soft and weak for my preferences), chicken feet (fine but could be better), haw gau (fine), bbq pork buns (good), meatballs (had a strange vinegary taste that we weren't fond of), beef wrapped in chow fun (fine), shrimp balls with sticky rice and enoki mushrooms (good), custard tart (quite hot and with a more delicate flavor than most places, it was good), beef pastry (fine), pan-fried "noodle" (nicely crunchy), Chinese broccoli (not as oily as most places but of average freshness), sweet tofu (served in a very cute wooden bucket with a slightly gingery sugar sauce on the side), wonton soup (quite attractive dumplings in a delicate broth), and chicken congee (nothing special). Total was $13 CAD per person including tax and tip. The food was decent, but I think that Koi Palace in the SF Bay Area (where I live) is better, though not as attractive and more crowded.
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