About Me Part II – Vegan

Oh god, sounds corny as all hell but I guess this is like a new beginning… cue the hypey dramatic ass music.

So this “About me” section has changed a quite a bit from three years ago. So I’m still living in Vancouver, BC and still love food. The latter will NEVER change. Though the type of food I have been eating has changed DRAMATICALLY. November 2017 I decided to move towards a plant based diet (I say that as if it has been such a long time, but in reality, it’s November 26th as I write this). From being a chef that was primarily meat based (for God sake, I cooked all the proteins for Fuel when it was still open…), it’s been a huge change.

I want to start documenting what I eat, what I make and the struggles that I may encounter with the transition. So far I think it’s pretty interesting, when you cut out meat and dairy out of your diet, people tend to get very creative with things they make when they try to replicate the crueler alternative. So to get to the point, recipes I make will be my attempts at making different vegan snacks, lunches/dinners and of course desserts! As for restaurants I want to explore and try not only vegan restaurants in Vancouver (there are so many more than I had anticipated), but to go to regular run of the mill restaurant and see what I can actually have there! I think this would be helpful just for the general idea on which restaurants are accommodating to the 13% of British Columbians that identify as vegan or vegetarian.

Well there’s the short explanation on the direction of this blog!


Hope you all enjoy.


Sweet Potato Brownies

So I decided to try something new. A member of my household has decided to become vegan… what a hassle. How is one to bake without eggs and milk?! Well while procrastinating, I decided to peruse the inter web for some vegan blogs. I wanted to look for something sweet to make. Stumbled upon Deliciously Ella’s blog for some Sweet Potato Brownies! The hell?! I was straight up baffled! Vegans are so damn crafty, with the absence of animal products and byproducts, I’d guess you’d have to be crafty. To replicate the chewiness and fudginess of the original so called “cruel” brownie, would be replaced with dates and sweet potato. Damn… who knew.



500 g or 2 medium – sweet potatoes
200 g – oats
12 – Medjool dates
6 tbsp – pure maple syrup
pinch – Salt
6 tbsp – raw cacao powder
1 cup – roasted pecans
300 g – chopped dark chocolate


This recipe is pretty quick and easy. Rather then a one pot meal its a one blender brownie. Soak your pitted medjool dates (don’t use those gnarly dry brick dates, live a little, get the good ones), if they’re already pretty soft, you won’t really have a problem. I find that if I process dates, it tends to be easier if I soak them for a couple hours. Peel and steam your sweet potatoes.steam

I feel steaming is a little better than just boiling your sweet potato because it tends keep the potatoes a bit dryer. Having the control of your moisture level will benefit you in the long run in the case that you end up with a goopy brownie… but you do you, I ain’t a babysitter. Drain your dates well and process them in a food processor or a high speed blender. Grind your oats in a coffee grinder till it’s finely milled. Add all the remaining ingredients in except for your pecans and chopped chocolate… I guess I won’t be lazy and type it out for you… (oats, salt, maple syrup and cocoa powder). Mix all of this real well. Pour ur mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the pecans and chocolate chunks. I say pour as if the batter was actually runny, at this point if your batter isn’t the constancy of Play Doh, you’ve done something wrong.

Ready to bakne

Put your completed “mixture” into a greased 9″ square pan and level it out with an off set spatula. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Seems pretty long for a “chewy” brownie, but it surprisingly it worked!


Overall The brownie wasn’t bad, I cut the brownie in 14 pieces and it really did have the consistency of a brownie, as advertised. It tasted like the healthiest brownie I’ve ever eaten, I’m not sure if thats just a mental thing, knowing it was made out of sweet potato… but meh. I would probably make it again if I had a guest with some dietary restrictions. Myself? I’ll probably stick with Two Bite Brownies from Costco.


Motomachi Shokudo Ramen

Motomachi Shokudo Ramen, not a name that rolls off the tongue thats for sure. A friend made a quick stop in Vancouver a couple days before he went back home to the Yukon and had a hankering for some ramen. Why not I thought, it was a cold rainy day, I could go for some soup! After driving downtown Vancouver and looking for parking for far too long, we finally decided to park and “hike” to Denman through the rainstorm. The first ramen restaurant we went to, Kintaro Ramen, was pretty busy. The line up that went out the door. Unfortunately we didn’t have the desire to wetter so we decided to walk down the block to Motomachi Shokudo.


Motomachi Shokudo!


It looks like its a pretty prestigious restaurant, winning awards since 2014! So it was to my surprise that it wasn’t so busy. When we came there were only about 3 tables, but then again the restaurant only had about 5 tables and a larger communal table in the centre. The atmosphere was great, an open kitchen and the decor seemed like you were transported to somewhere else. The menu was pretty interesting, there were only about 5 different types of ramen that were available, but they gave a pretty detailed description of each.


I ordered Shio Ramen and a side of kimchi, I know kimchi isn’t generally a Japanese dish, I just wanted to try a Japanese rendition of it! Assuming that the chefs were actually Japanese. For me, the kimchi was a little underwhelming. It wasn’t well fermented and ended up being little bland. I think kimchi should ever be described as bland! It should be the farthest thing from bland! Then again some people prefer fresh kimchi so if thats you, give it a try.


As for the ramen, it was pretty good! You can tell that a lot of care was put into the bowl. The bean sprouts were steamed well and the boiled egg was so flavourful. The broth was clean, but rich and the noodles were well cooked. There was a really good ratio between, broth, vegetables and meat! Sometimes when you get a bowl of soup and there is too many noodles or too much meat and it just ruins the balance of the meal! As for the “cons” the charsu was extremely fatty. I believe  that they used straight up pork belly and I’m not a huge fan of that much fat in one bite.

Overall, I think that it was pretty good,I give it a 3.5/5. Not the best ramen I’ve ever had, but still pretty good. The ambiance and the service was such a redemption factor for me. I would go back just because I love the feeling of being transported to another place, so if I’m in the area again, I’d go back!

Motomachi Shokudo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sal Y Limon!

Sal Y Limon, I’ve heard so much about this place and finally I decided to give it a try. There’s always a line up here when I glance in from my favourite Vietnamese sandwich shop, so I decided to get there around 5. I’d suggest the same thing to anyone who wants to go here, the seating is pretty limited.


The restaurant style is set up like Nando’s, you go to the counter and order, take a seat and they’ll bring your order to you when it’s ready. The menu is pretty diverse, you can get tacos, burritos, tortas (a Mexican style sandwich), and quesadillas. I decided to go for the tacos, I wanted to try a little bit of everything without over stuffing myself.


All and all I got four different types of tacos:

  • Shrimp
  • Fish
  • Pollo Asado (grilled chicken)
  • Vegetarian (zucchini and veggies)

I love seafood so I had to go for the fish and shrimp and they surely lived up to their expectations.  The shrimp was cooked perfectly, still tender yet crispy from the batter. The fish taco was pretty similar to the shrimp, it just had a bit of dressed slaw on it. The chicken was a bit of a let down, the flavours didn’t stand out much, I didn’t feel as if I got my $2.25 worth, but it wasn’t horrible by any means. The vegetarian taco was sort of a test for me. I feel as if many restaurants whip up a random alternative for all those non-meat eaters out there and usually ends up being really half-ass. Ultimately I believe a restaurant is only as good as their vegetarian item. Theirs was alright, nothing special, pretty much as I had described, a half-ass dish, whipped up for their occasional vegetarian diners.


Thankfully there was a large display of different sauces you can dip your tacos or into if you want to have some funky flavours. I only tried one, which was the Diablo sauce. It was pretty good, really spicy  and when it comes to spice, I’m a huge baby. I have no idea what was going through my head when I picked up the Diablo bottle. “Devil” in Spanish, must be pretty mild right?! Nope… My decision was a rash one because there was a huge line up at the sauce area so, I felt a little uncomfortable to test out more.


To my surprise they sold Mexican Coca Cola. The main difference between Mexican Coca Cola and regular Coca Cola is that the Mexican one is made with cane sugar, where regular North American Coke is made with corn syrup. Being a huge Coke fan, it was a must. Honestly, I’m not sure if my pallet isn’t refined enough to tell the difference between regular Coke and Mexican Coke, but I really couldn’t tell except that it came in a funky vintage bottle.


To end the meal, we got some piping hot churros. My first time having one so I was so excited. They were pretty good, strong in cinnamon flavour, but the sauce that they drizzled over them was a bit strange. It was like a cinnamon sauce with no sugar, I was expecting a really gooey sauce, but instead it was more just like cinnamon water. It wasn’t too bad, but nothing to jump over the moon for.


Overall the place was pretty cool, funky art hung up around the restaurant and seems like a place you could really grab a beer, have a few tacos and shoot the shit with your friends. I rate this place a 7/10. My tacos were overall pretty decent, so I can’t complain. My friend told me that I should have definitely tried the burritos and it wont let me down. I’ll be back soon to try that and maybe my thoughts will change!
Sal Y Limon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Braised Short Ribs

A long time coming, my first post of the New Year! My New Years resolution is to post more often and have a blog to reference my recipes from when I’m old, decrepit and can’t remember my own name! Here’s my recipe for some braised short ribs!  Something rich and decadent to warm you up on a chilly winter evening! This recipe is influenced from my training in french cuisine. Therefore, this ain’t a diet food… it’s loaded with tons of fat and wine !


The main flavour profiles I used in this recipe is:

  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

These three in my opinion are the holy trinity combination for a heartier meats like short ribs. Thus it’s best to get fresh rosemary and thyme rather than dried. When shopping at the grocery store, there are two kinds of short ribs to choose from, ones for grilling and ones for braising. The grilling ones are cut thin and the braising ones are larger and are cut between the ribs and not against the ribs. I prefer braising ribs more because they’re really hearty and usually end up being a bit cheaper. I got three good sized short ribs for about $12, not too bad!


  • 3 braising short ribs
  • 1 cup red wine (any red wine you prefer)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 pc celery
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse off your meat to make sure there isn’t any bone fragments. Dry them thoroughly with paper towel and season them generously with salt and pepper (when I say generous, I really mean it!). Now heres the most important part, sear your meat on a heavy bottom pan. Have a really hard sear on all sides of the meat so that you can lock in the flavour. Place your ribs into a small pot just enough to fit them in with the rest of your ingredients. After the sear, deglaze your heavy bottom pan with red wine and reduce it 1/2 of the way.


Place the chopped carrot, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary and half a teaspoon of salt into the pot along with your beef stock and the remainder of the wine in your pan. Bring the braising liquid to a boil. Put a lid on it, turn the heat down to low, now set it and forget it.


Let the ribs simmer for 2.5 hours and check periodically to make sure that there is still enough liquid in the pot. If the liquid evaporates to less than 3/4 full, top it up with some more beef stock.

At this point your short ribs are done! To finish it off strain your braising liquid into a large sauce pan and reduce till it becomes a glaze and add 3 tbsp of butter. Mix well. Place your ribs into the pan when you’re ready to serve and baste your ribs until they’re warm.

I served mine with mashed potato and sautéd green beans with garlic!



Chatime! It’s the first I’ve ever heard of this bubble tea restaurant, but apparently it’s all the rage in the states! As on their website, they advertise freshly brewed tea infused with natural flavours.  In that description I don’t think it’s much different from other bubble tea places in Vancouver. They pride themselves on having precise quality, timing and temperature to ensure a perfectly made, great quality tea. This global brand produces their variations of bubble tea all around the globe throughout North America, Europe and Asia.


The store was really nice, pretty modern and clean cut! The service was extremely friendly and the staff explained how their drinks worked really easily. You first choose your drink, they have a ton of variations like the “Mousse Series” and the “Coffee Series”! If I lived close to this Robson location, I  would come back and try the different twists they have on regular bubble tea. You then choose the percentage of sweetness and how much ice you prefer in the drink. This is good if you are quite particular with your bubble tea, but personally I don’t think it’s necessary. I chose one from what they are known for which is the Roasted Milk Tea with Grass Jelly. At first I was a little skeptical, roasted milk? How do you even roast milk?


Nonetheless, I gave it a try, with regular sweetness and regular ice. It was interesting. It was exactly as advertised… Roasted milk tea… You could taste the roasted flavour as well as the milky richness. I would not say it was bad at all, just a little strange! It was pretty good, but nothing to go out of my way to get.


Overall, I would rate Chatime 6.5/10. I would come back if it were convenient, but wouldn’t go out of my way to get. I will be trying some of their special offerings the next time I pass by though, seeing how they have now three locations in the Lower Mainland (Richmond, West End and South Granville!), hopefully I’ll have something more memorable.

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Moderne Burger!

Where do I begin with this place… Well I attempted to go to this restaurant a few weeks ago arriving around 6:45PM and was told that there were only 2 burger buns left. I thought this was quite strange, a restaurant that exclusively sells burgers run out of buns in the middle of dinner service. Unfortunately we had a party of 3 and no one really wanted to compromise and have a hamburger steak. Ultimately I don’t think you should have to compromise not having a full burger when you go to a burger joint. Maybe I was being a bit too critical, so I thought I wouldn’t cross this place off my list just yet.

One day when my friends and I were just sick of the food we were eating in our neighbourhood, we decided to give this place a shot again, earlier this time, hopefully they will still have some buns for us! We arrived at 6:00PM and thankfully they had buns left! Praise Jesus! The three of us were seated in a booth, it was kind of a tight squeeze, which was surprising because of the excess space that they had in the restaurant, they could have made the tables and booths a bit larger to make the dining experience a bit more comfortable.


The restaurant was pretty cool looking, sort of a blast from he past. It was painted in light pastel yellows and greens and set up like a diner! I was impressed with the atmosphere that they had created.


I glanced through the menu and it was quite basic, you can order a burger with your choice of beef, veggie, turkey or salmon. The burger comes with all the fixin’s for $7.95 or $8.95 with salmon. You can get a burger platter that comes with fries as well for $10.95. Any additional toppings like cheese, mushrooms or bacon comes with an additional charge of $1.25. A pretty basic menu, a little pricy if you want a bacon cheeseburger though. I ended up getting a mushroom burger platter with a cherry Coca-Cola.


The cherry cola was the highlight of my experience! It was great it came in a tall glass with crushed ice and topped with a maraschino cherry! Very cute. At $2.75 I think it was worth every penny!


Now here’s the big kicker! The piece de resistance! The burger! My thoughts? It was pretty good, the meat was extremely fresh, you could taste how clean and fresh it was. The vegetables inside the burger were also at the same caliber. As for flavour, they could have seasoned the burger, it was a bit bland! The french fries were also pretty good, fresh home cut fries, you can’t go wrong! Although, we did ask if they had any gravy and the server told me that they don’t make or carry any. I think this was a missed opportunity on their part! Who could resist a burger and a real Canadian poutine?! It’s so simple to make and would make it a really easy upsell for the servers.

Now on the topic of service, I was really let down on that end, the service was awkward and maybe a little fake. The lady who took our order was quite abrupt and cut throat, while still keeping a smile on her face. That leaded me to believe that she was a bit fake, my friend had asked for her burger to be cut in half (for ease when eating) and she flat out said no and that she will bring her a knife so my friend could do it herself. We were totally okay with that, but unfortunately she didn’t bring us a knife so we resorted to using a butter knife on the table. We would have asked her for a knife, but from the time we received our food to the time we finished eating, we weren’t approached by a server to ask if we needed anything else/get refills on water.

So my final thoughts on Moderne Burger? I rate it a 6/10. It would have gotten a better rating if the service was better. Although I do think I would eat there again if I passed by and wanted a quick snack. I’d recommend the cherry coke and some fries! The rest, I’m sure you could get better elsewhere. Their hours of operation was a little odd to me as well, for a burger place selling shakes and malts, I think they would have been open till around 10:00PM, but they’re only open till 7:30PM everyday Tuesday to Sunday.

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Chicken Stock!

Stock is one of the first things you learn how to make in culinary school, it’s the base to many more complex dishes from soups and consommés to risottos and pastas! A very diverse item yet it is so easy to make! A home made stock will elevate your dish from just alright to amazing!


  • 5-6 lbs of chicken bones
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 small onions halved
  • 1 lemon
  • leftover herbs
  • 6 litres water


Stocks are one of the easiest things to make! Chicken bones can be found in your local grocery store, they usually come frozen, any kind of chicken bones will do but the neck and breasts are the best. The neck and breast contain a lot of gelatine which will give your stock body. You can even use bones of an already roasted chicken! As for herbs, you can add as much or as little as you want, I would stay in the range of thyme, oregano and parsley. Nothing too strong in flavour that may change the flavour of your dish. Put all our ingredients in a stock pot and bring it to a boil.


You want to start off with cold water, if boil your water first and add in your ingredients than your stock will be cloudy. When everything comes up to a boil, skim off the access fats and impurities. Turn your stock down to a medium low simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours skimming periodically (every 30 minutes or so).


Keep the stock uncovered to ensure a nice clear broth! After you’ve cooked the stock for 4 hours, you cannot gain any more flavour or body from the bones or other ingredients, so strain it and pass it through a cheesecloth (optional if you want a clear broth). Cool overnight and use within a week. If you have leftover broth, place the remainder in jars and freeze. They will last months and be ready for use immediately!


Burgers ETC!

So I was in need for a new burger joint, Red Robin’s by Metrotown was my regular burger place and since Station Square is being rebuilt they closed down, hopefully just temporarily! Meanwhile this gives me a good opportunity to try new places around the area. My good friends brother recommended Burgers ETC, located on Hastings and Gilmore. We decided to give it a try. I had initially thought that the restaurant would exclusively sell burgers, but to my surprise when we walked in it was pretty much a BBQ house! Great! I love BBQ, the smells of the grill was way too tempting to pass up so I decided to go towards a BBQ dish instead of my intended burger. There was an open kitchen concept so when you walk in, you can see the grill! It was so much cleaner than most of the restaurants I’ve been in, so right off the bat I was already impressed!


I looked through the menu long and hard and decided to go with the Combo Platter, with this you get your choice of two meats and two sides. I ended up choosing the ribs and chicken wings for my meats and french fries and corn for my sides! I was pleasantly surprised that it was loose corn instead of a cob of barbecued corn on the cob. I mean, I’m sure that it wouldn’t be other patrons first choice, but I don’t like things that are hard to eat. I would rather have something more simple to eat instead of getting so messy with a whole cob of corn. It was pretty good, the ribs were tender, but not fall off the bone, good flavour and huge portions. The wings were pretty good, nothing to rant and rave about, but nothing to complain about either. This Combo Platter was pretty big, it would totally be enough to feed 2 for lunch, if not be prepared to have a doggy bag!


My sister got a half rack of ribs with fries and corn as well, but to top it all off she had a milkshake! She also requested a couple shots of baileys in there to make it extra boozey! Not my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat! She said that the milkshake was awesome and reminded her of the milkshake at Holstein’s in Las Vegas (Cosmopolitan Hotel).

My other friend got a cheeseburger with fries and gravy, not much comment from him on the burger, but he got the burger plain so I guess you can’t really mess up on a plain burger.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with his place, I would definitely go back to try their burger. The service was pretty efficient, the servers were nice and attentive! I would rate Burgers ETC an 8/10. Things they could work on is the ventilation, be prepared to take a shower when you get home cause you’ll be smelling like the grill!

Burgers Etc. BBQ House on Urbanspoon

Banh Mi Saigon!

So Banh Mi Saigon… where do I start?  This is a Vietnamese store that is newly opened (about two weeks ago) on Victoria and 33rd avenue. They are classified as a deli and dessert restaurant, but they specializing in Vietnamese subs and Che (Vietnamese Dessert)! I’ve been there a few times prior to my last visit, but every time I get some sandwiches for the family, I never get the chance to have one fresh. From what I had tasted thus far, I wasn’t quite impressed because I’m not fond of their Vietnamese subs reheated in the toaster oven. I thought that I would give it a chance to have it fresh before I totally judge the sandwich. A friend that lives in the area told me that she saw the lady who sold Vietnamese Che 6 mau (six colour dessert) at the Richmond Night Market was working/the owner of Banh Mi Saigon. This has got to be one of my favourite Vietnamese desserts and bingo she was right! I walked in, there was a cool menu set up in the shape of a famous mall/grocery store in Vietnam called Cho Ben Thanh and the che 6 mau was on the menu! It beats waiting for the summer night market to come to enjoy the bean dessert!


I digress, so my friend and I tried the Vietnamese sub fresh, we got the meatball sub and added Vietnamese ham to share, we also ordered a couple of lemon iced tea’s to cool us down from the hot weather. Usually the most popular sub is the special sup which has Vietnamese ham and bacon, meatball (ground), pate, mayo, cucumber, pickled vegetables (daikon and carrots), cilantro and jalapeño’s. To start off all the sandwiches are $4.50, a little more expensive than Bale (on Kingsway and Fraser) the place where I usually get my subs, which is $4.00. They loaded the sandwich with quite a lot of meat and picked vegetables! Since they weren’t cheap on ingredients I think it’s a pretty fair price. The sandwich was pretty good fresh, way better than when I had it reheated in the toaster oven. The bread was so good, crispy and crunchy on the outside, but still subtle and soft in the middle. The lemon iced tea on the other hand was phenomenal, on a totally different level than the sandwich! It’s so refreshing on a hot summers day! It came with shaved ice so you could get small pieces of ice coming up your straw while you drink it! I definitely enjoyed that!

Overall I really enjoyed my sandwich, I just wouldn’t recommend you get it prior, just consume it ASAP! If you do wait, the bread gets really soggy when you reheat it later. The dessert is just like the one at the Richmond Night Market, so that doesn’t disappoint. I give Banh Mi Saigon an 8/10, what they could work on is the service, though it’s friendly I feel as though they aren’t efficient enough, they still need to get into their own groove and work out the kinks. Give the place a try, its worth it to stop by for a really cheap lunch!

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