We're back to San Francisco now. Our vacation in Vancouver was enjoyable aside from the weirdest weather, we had cloudy, sunny, rainy, hailstorm, snow, and sometimes a combination of all of the above. I just feel that the trip wasn't long enough, and I just cannot fit in more than 2 meals a day. As per my previous post, here were the restaurants we tried in the first half of the week: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/502967
Sun Sui Wah (Main St.) for dim sum
Sophie's Cosmic Cafe for brunch
Granville Island Market
Osake Artisan Makers
We later visited these spots, many which were recommended by the friendly chowhounds on this board:
Izakaya Crawl #1: Hapa, Gyoza King, Guu with Garlic
Sun Sui Wah for King Crab & Squab
Motomachi Shokudo (Ramen)
Izakaya Crawl #2: Zakkushi and Kingyo
The Place Restaurant
We went to Go Fish around 1pm on a Wednesday, there was a good group of people there, but the wait wasn't horrible and the weather was perfect to sit outside, a bit chilly but still sunny. We got an order of Cod Fish and Chips (2 pieces for ~$7.50), seafood curry soup ($5) and a scallop sandwich from the specials board. The fish is definitely superfresh and the batter they use, just really really delicious! The scallop sandwich dimmed in comparison to the fish and chips, we even ordered an extra piece of salmon. Even my boyfriend who's normally not a fan of fish and chips was impressed.
As I mentioned earlier, our first izakaya crawl was so much fun! We started out at Hapa, where we ordered a tazezake (superchilled house sake in a bamboo), beef tartar, beef misoni, chilled marinated eggplant (forgot the japanese name for this). The food was great!! I especially loved the beef misoni (it was only $3.60), and the beef and broth were extremely flavorful. The loungey atmosphere was something I didn't expect, but enjoyed. Then we moved on to Gyoza King where the atmosphere was a bit more down-to-earth where we had the five-item oden along with a miso-mackerel and a Calpico cocktail. I thought the fish was good, but the oden wasn't as good of a value. Service was quite nice here though. Finally, we hit Guu with Garlic and ordered the takoyaki, pumpkin croquette with egg inside, baked oyster and the beef tongue. Although the atmosphere here wasn't as great as the previous two, the food was definitely a star here. I love love love the beef tongue, great texture and plenty of flavor. The pumpkin croquette (kobucha korokke) was quite interesting and comforting food. We here in SF don't even have a place that makes takoyaki in house! This izakaya crawl #1 inspired me to continue with izakaya crawl #2 on Friday.
On Thursday, after coming back from a day of snowboarding up in Whistler (we intentionally didn't eat anything up in the mountain aside from one small cup of soup), we hit up Sun Sui Wah for their king crab special and their squab (as recommended by fmed). It was amazing how fast the king crab disappeared from the table with just the two of us, we had it cooked two ways, garlic steamed and the knuckles were pepper-fried (is that how you say it?). The squab has a delightful smell and taste, but I kind of thought it was a bit small and boney (but that was to be expected of the bony little bird). Our king crab was 5.75lb at $13.80/lb, and I didn't know they brought the crab out to your table before they cook it! Needless to say, we loved the king crab and wished that it was such a bargain all the time! I was around in Richmond at a later time and I checked out Osaka Market in Yaohan, and their king crab was going for ~$12.99 and T&T Market's king crab was ~$10.99, so Sun Sui Wah's king crab is definitely an extraordinary bargain! (I know, I just wanted to feel good that I ate such good crab at such a good price.. hah)
Motomachi's ramen had a more delicate and lighter flavor to it than the others, which is what they advertise. We had their miso ramen as well as the shio ramen. One thing that I learned about these ramen places (and maybe other restaurants) around Denman was that they didn't open until noon, so watch out if you plan to get there early like I did.
Later on, I also paid my homage to my favorite, Beard Papa, in Richmond even though we have it here in SF. I've tried Beard Papa in Taiwan, SF, LA and Vancouver and I do have to say the taste varies from place to place, the choux-pastry varies in crunchiness, the chocolate used for the eclair varies in richness and the fillings (especially strawberry) varies a great deal, at some locations there are actual pieces of strawberries while at others it seems to be just completely smooth. It was satisfying nonetheless.
On our izakaya crawl #2, we first tried to get into Kingyo at around 9pm on Friday without a reservation, but with no luck, so we went to Zakkushi which was still kind of a wait. Finally we got our seats in front of the grill at the counter. The robata were great (we had chicken liver, chicken heart, chicken gizzard, cheese chicken meatball, mochi wrapped with bacon and beef tongue) and the beef tartar here topped with a cute little quail egg was delicious as well. However, the service seemed a bit off, not that they weren't friendly and courteous, but the waiters seemed to be drinking a lot with a particular table and the food just sat waiting on the counters for the longest time! We basically waited an hour for our robata to come, and some of the other tables were complaining as well. After spending about two hours here, we headed to Kingyo where we were seated immediately at the bar. We ordered their stone bowl eel rice and the kimchi-mentaiko udon. Both of these dishes were quite fulfilling at a reasonable price. One thing that I really liked was their tea, not sure what kind it is, but they give you a pot of it. Can't wait to come back to Vancouver for another izakaya crawl!!
On our final half day, we decided to head to The Place Restaurant for some Chinese style brunch. When we arrived around 11:30, there wasn't anyone else in the restaurant. We ordered some soy milk (this was slightly too sweet and can't be ordered without sugar, but the taste was right), XLB, wonton in hot sauce and beef in sesame pancake (sorry about the bad translations). The XLB was very good, lots of soup and very flavorful filling, the wrapping was not too thick and not too thin, very good quality and great price!
I think that about concludes our Vancouver trip! Pictures will be posted shortly. Thanks to all of you for your great recommendations, still sounds like there are a lot of places we didn't get to try, but oh well, we will be back!!