Wednesday, 19 March 2014

We've Moved!

Due to the differing interests and posting formats, The Three Nutty Crumpets will no longer be an active blog. However this only means that this blog is expanding to two! While many of the existing posts will remain on this site, we would highly encourage you to continue following us at our new blogs. 

Follow The Rachels at their spiffy new website, Radiant Rachels
Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more delicious and nutritious recipes!

And find Cathy at The Coffee Cat for the continuation of her culinary journeys, adventures and more!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mosaic Bar and Grill × VanEats: Mosaic Harvest

VanEats Mosaic Harvest Prix Fix Menu
Exam week, the only period of time during the school year where we actually have nothing to prepare for.  To celebrate, a group of us made a reservation to redeem the VanEats passes we purchased months ago. Yes, on a Tuesday night. We're not bad students, we promise! What is VanEats? It is a website that features exclusive dining passes for prix fix menus that are only available with the pre-purchased pass. This particular dining pass was for a beautiful three-course dinner for only $27. That is including tax! Mosaic was also offering a Dine Out Vancouver menu that contained similar dishes, but it costs $38. Lemme hear a "SCORE!!!"

Collectively, it is the Crumpet's fourth time at Mosaic Bar and Grill and the third VanEats dining pass (see here and here). It's no doubt that this restaurant is one of the best in Greater Vancouver. We're probably one of the last bloggers to review this particular Autumn Harvest menu, but nonetheless, we must contribute our praise. Our thoughts for each and every item on the VanEats menu is below!

Complimentary Scones
Shortly after ordering, we were provided with a generous amount of scones. More than we could eat. They were served warm and toasty (looooove!), moist and tender inside. Mmmm~ There was a distinct smoky flavour to the scones; my best guess would be that they were smoked salmon scones. Second best guess would be bacon. These miniature scones were the perfect start to the meal! But since a full dinner was coming up, we tried to limit ourselves. So hard...

Fall Salad
The two Crumpets had the Fall Salad as an appetizer. Thinly sliced raw carrots, beets, turnips, and mixed greens elegantly sat atop smears of tangerine dressing. The vibrant colours make it visually appealing. The green dots were, I think, green onion puree, but it didn't taste like much. Overall, the salad was a bit bland. I would've probably liked the salad a lot more if the dressing was more tangy. It's not a terrible salad, but it isn't one that left a vivid memory.

A la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon
The A la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon is a must order when at Mosaic. The accompaniments to the fish change throughout the year, but it a dish we would recommend first comers to try. The texture of the fish is in between sashimi and smoked salmon. No worries, it's completely cooked!  _____ thought the smoked salmon was okay, kind of had an odd smoked taste to it but the wasabi sauce was good pairing with it.

Roasted Chestnut Bisque
While the description sounded delicious, the Roasted Chestnut Bisque was not very well liked. It didn't really suit Clumsy One's taste. She says, "At first I forgot that they pour in the soup later, so when I looked at that pathetic piece of lettuce thing with that brandy cream smeared on the side I thought, "is this it?" Hahaha. Yes, but it was an odd creamy-ish soup." Those with an acquired taste for brandy may enjoy the soup a lot more.

Seared Baja Ocean Wise Scallops
Over half of us had the Seared Baja Ocean Wise Scallops as our main course. 

The Clumsy One's thoughts: "I like the scallops, I wish there were more of them though. The ham was salty but sort of appetizing in a way, and figs I gave away. The sauce didn't really have much flavour on the plate now that I think about it... That's just me though."
Mosaic has been praised for their perfect scallops so Coconut Crumpet, being a seafood lover, had high expectations for this dish. Again, the plating was artistic and elegant. The savoury flavours of the four large (not super large) scallops and prosciutto contrasted the sweetness of the sweet potato puree and dried mission figs. I really enjoy the juxtaposition of flavours, textures, and temperature so this entree lived  up to its expections. Even though we thought the prosciutto was too salty, the dish deserves the praise its gotten. Another minor nit-picky suggestion would be that fresh figs would've made the dish even better. Probably will have to wait for summer to get in-season figs. Cue Olaf singing "In Summer". Ahh, we love Frozen~

Grilled Curried Cauliflower Steak
Our waitress made sure Peanut Crumpet knew the Cauliflower Steak wasn't actually steak, as unknowing customers have been disappointed.  This was a disappointing dish as the curry sauce was "salty like the sea". So unfortunately, despite having tasty components like dates and pine nuts, the overly salty sauce ruined the entree. Because of this dish, Peanut Crumpet felt the quality of Mosaic has slightly decreased since last year.

Sous Vide Peace Country Lamb
The third and final entree is the Sous Vide Lamb. Sous vide is a special cooking method in which the cut of meat is sealed in a plastic bag and placed in a hot water bath to cook. This ensures the meat is cooked evenly and yields a super moist result. P ordered it medium; one piece was done to her liking while the other was on the rare side. The raw areas of the second piece wasn't so pleasant for her. She enjoyed the broccoli rabe (aka broccolini).

Pumpkin and Nutmeg Creme Brule
Both desserts were equally as tempting so we ordered two of each! The Pumpkin and Nutmeg Creme Brule was excellent! The custard was thick, creamy, indulgent and had a level of spice that would please those that enjoy warm spices while being mild enough for those that don't to thoroughly enjoy it. The caramelized layer of sugar was not too thick, as when it is thick, the shards can be extremely sharp. It was just enough sugar to satisfy a sweet tooth and round out a meal. The pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) went perfectly with the dessert; I scooped up all the seeds from the platter and dumped them into my creme brule. 

The biscotti/cracker things on the side didn't taste like much at first. But when I went back to them after finishing off my creme brule, their subtle sweetness came out and it kind of helped wash down all the flavours from the meal. Chewy from all the seeds and nuts, I love textural food!

Slice Mosaic Chocolate Cake
The Clumsy One (nickname re-confirmed after the cutlery incident, haha!) doubted me when I told her most people end up packing half of Mosaic's Signature Chocolate Cake home. When dessert was served, the two with the cake even challenged each other to a race to see who could finish their cake first. This massive slice of cake has alternating layers of dense chocolate cake and rich ganache. A thin shell of melted chocolate coats the exterior of the cake, which is hiding at the base. The cake itself is a bit dry, but with the frosting it tasted very good. Some diners have hailed this cake as the best chocolate cake in Vancouver. While it is a pretty good chocolate cake, since the cake was a tinge dry, we don't think it was the best (that's a very subjective term anyways.) When the need to doggy-bag half of the cake home, you will be provided with a sturdy box and a nice bag. Good quality stuff, ya know. Just as a note, a full sized piece of cake, as seen in the photo, is part of the VanEats menu but only a 'mini' slice is offered for the $38 Dine Out menu. Another reason why VanEats happens to be the better deal.

Fruit Plate (vegan dessert)
I encouraged Peanut Crumpet to ask if the restaurant could subsidize some sort of vegan option for dessert. Our waitress was prompt to check on the request for us and came back offering a Fresh Fruit Plate. It wasn't anything spectacular but the act of accommodating dietary restrictions contributes to the restaurant's good service.

Our waitress for the night was fabulous! Always with a smile, her service was cheerful, helpful, and efficient throughout the three and a half hours we spent occupying that table. She periodically came to ask how our food was, if we wanted anything else, and to come refill our water. As I was describing the menu to The Clumsy One sitting next to me, she joked about how I knew the menu inside and out.  "On Urbanspoon?" she asked. Yup, I've seen like all the other blog posts on the Mosaic Harvest menu. We made sure to leave her an appropriate amount of tips for her great service. I probably should've combined the amount into bills instead of leaving a pile of loonies and toonies... Sorry!

VanEats passes for this particular menu are still available on their website. They can be redeemed up until end of February. For $27, this is a better deal than Dine Out Vancouver!

Mosaic Grille & Bar on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet & Co.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Perfected Baked Coconut Rice Cake 椰汁烤年糕

Chinese New Year, the time of year to take advantage of the special dishes that only make an appearance once a year and as kids, gather our year's income from red envelopes. Of all the traditional new year foods, my favourite has always been the sweet rice cake, known as nian gao (年糕). In Korean it's called dduk (떡) and in Japanese it's mochi. 

I can use the Chinese characters to further explain what nian gao is; the word nian 年 means 'year' and the word gao 糕 is 'cake'. However, there are a lot of different types of gao. The cake we know in English is dan gao, literally translated into 'egg cake'. There is also savoury so-called cakes, such as the radish or taro cakes that are also served during new years. Chinese is kinda confusing like that.

Back to talking about nian gao, the most traditional version of it is flavored with sugar (brown, white, or sometimes red sugar) and simply steamed. Once the nian gao is completely chilled, it is sliced up, dipped into beaten egg, and pan fried to a golden brown. A crispy layer on the outside and super chewy on the inside. I drool at the thought. My grandma makes an amazing lower sugar version, since she is diabetic, and it I look forward to a pan of it every year. 

Another childhood memory of nian gao is eating the baked version at church potlucks. Other aunties would bring a big pan of it and I'd be the one to constantly re-visit the table to grab myself another serving. Now that I'm a cook myself, I want to recreate it at home. Two years ago, I began baking my own nian gao. I remember baking three or four batches in a week, tweaking the recipe each time, to achieve the perfect baked nian gao. And oh ho ho, whaddya know, my version is packed with coconut flavour! 

"Define perfect", okay, I accept the challenge.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Bella Gelateria: Hot Chocolate Festival 2014

Hot Chocolate Festival 2014
"Hot chocolate festival? There's such a thing?" 

That's the reaction I get from many of my friends when I am trying to find someone to go with me. It's fourth year running, Vancouver's Hot Chocolate Festival is steadily growing in participants. With an extra hour to kill between watching Frozen and dining at Mosaic Bar and Grill, we took the opportunity to take part in the festival. Bella Gelateria is only two blocks away from Mosaic, so we decided to pay a visit.

Hot Chocolate Festival 2014 menu
The Three Nutty Crumpets came to Bella Gelateria for during the Hot Chocolate Festival last year and since then, the menu of hot chocolate has incredibly expanded. I remember having about three or so choices, and it costing a lot more. I'm extremely impressed with the creative flavours Bella Gelateria has to offer this year; if my stomach was bigger, I would've loved to try more! A gelato bar in hot chocolate? My love for hot and cold food together is calling...

Black Sesame Hot Chocolate ($5.50)
Since dinner was around the corner, I limited myself to having just a cup of hot chocolate. My heart was set on the Black Sesame Hot Chocolate the moment I saw it on the menu. Knowing how ah-may-zing their black sesame gelato is, I was really excited for this drink. For $5.50 (tax included), this generous cup of hot chocolate is creamy and packed full of the flavours advertised. It wasn't overly sweet, as the base of this drink was half white chocolate and half 85% dark chocolate. I drank about half of this and packed the rest to go. As I was pouring it into my paper cup, I saw how much black sesame paste went into this drink. A thick layer of black sesame paste lined the bottom of the cup; remember to stir while drinking. No wonder it tasted so good! 

All Hot Chocolate Festival drinks at Bella Gelateria come with half a slice of Erin Ireland's To Die For Banana Bread. I was pleasantly surprised that this year, the slice of banana bread was of normal thickness. Not exaggerating but last year we got half a slice that was only one centimetre in thickness. That's half of what is seen in the photo! Like seriously, you must be kidding me... -shakes head- However, the banana bread isn't as good as I remember it to be. It was missing the crunchy bits of salt that contrasts the sweetness of the loaf. There was even less macadamia nuts than before (it didn't start off with much in the first place) and it just tasted sugary. Nevertheless, the side of banana bread is a nice treat that, with the drink, will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Italian Honey Moon Hot Chocolate ($5.50)
My other two friends both ordered the Italian Honey Moon Hot Chocolate. "Hazelnut" totally caught their attention. I saw little chunks of honey nougat and hazelnuts floating on the surface. This one should be a little sweeter than the black sesame since it is made with 65% cocoa chocolate. The Clumsy One said that there was a generous amount of hazelnuts in the drink. Our other friend commented that she had to open her mouth a little wider to get the bits in as she drank. The serving size of the hot chocolate here is very large, be prepared to feel very full after gulping down the whole cup! (And a experience a bit of a sugar rush as well) Both drinks are well worth the very reasonable price. A specialty drink at Starbucks costs just as much, if not more, and they just use flavoured syrups and blech.

I'm very glad we decided to make a stop here, as it is probably one of the best places to join in on the Hot Chocolate Festival. Bella Gelateria's menu contains more flavours than most of the other participating cafes, making it a good choice for larger groups that may have different preferences. And ice cream bars in hot chocolate sounds insanely cool. If I get the chance to come back to try more of their Hot Chocolate Festival offerings, I have my eye on the London Foggy, Black Magic, and Extra Dark Chocolate drinks. Peanut Crumpet had the extra dark chocolate last year and it's not sweet at all. Those that love a true dark and bitter chocolate should definitely try Bella Gelateria out!

Bella Gelateria Handcrafted Gelato on Urbanspoon
Love from Coconut Crumpet & Co.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Chad's West Coast Bar & Grill

Needing to grab a few groceries from Costco, we decided to give Chad's a try. My mom had visited with her friends for a breakfast not too long ago and commented that it was reasonably good. She also had a $10 off $30 coupon to use, making it the perfect opportunity to dine at Chad's.

The restaurant was quiet for a sunny Sunday afternoon; there was less than 10 tables of people when we stepped in at noon. We were asked whether we would like breakfast or lunch menus, "Both please!" The elderly man that seated us joked about how before 12pm they called it breakfast while after 12 they called it brunch.

It took a while for my ambivalent family to decide what they wanted to eat. Mainly because the menu was limited. Especially the lunch menu. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus combined would be the size of The Coquitlam Grill's breakfast menu. While we considered each and every option, our waitress took our drink orders and brought them to us. My mom was going to ask about the coupon but the waitress kind of cut her off and went to retrieve our drinks instead. When she came back, she offered to help with our decision making, which was professional of her. She mentioned many items that were not listed on the menu, such as french onion soup, barely soup, cream of broccoli soup etc. It would be helpful if there was some sort of 'today's special' menu so that diners know all their options. My mom tried to ask about the coupon again because we had a digital photo of the newspaper ad and not a physical copy. Our waitress asked if she could bring the phone to Chad (the owner) and ask if he will still accept it. Even though we gave her permission to take my mom's phone away with her, it was rather unnecessary(?) Afterwards, two servers simultaneously stressed the point that that they would agree to "make an exception this time" but not "next time". It wasn't a huge deal, but it was a bit overwhelming to have two people speaking very loudly to us at the same time. 

Let's talk food now!

Vegetarian Eggs Benedict ($10)
I'm totally a breakfast person so I went with an order of Vegetarian Eggs Benedict. The plating is elegant and inviting. The eggs were poached medium, still runny on the inside~ The combination of  too much hollandaise sauce and watery tomatoes made the English muffin soggy and tough. Next time I will ask for the sauce on the side. It wasn't a terribly eggs benny but it didn't blow my mind either. The breakfast potatoes were amazing though! Okay, I know it's very likely they are previously frozen but they were super crunchy; I couldn't help but engulf them all. My mom kept stealing a bite every now and then too. After consuming the entire plate, I felt full for the next six hours. Ooph..

S-S-S-Smokin' Southwest Chucky Burger ($12.50)
My dad ordered the S-S-S-Smokin' Southwest Chucky. My mom thought the presentation was impressive, the skyscraper burger and the cute bamboo pick; the small details do matter! My dad said the patty was "plenty lean", his tactful way of saying the patty isn't fatty enough (haha, that rhymes!)

Breakfast Tacos ($10)
The brother decided on the Breakfast Tacos, three toasted tortillas filled with scrambled eggs and pulled pork. I'm glad the tortillas were warmed through, and not completely crunchy (as I prefer soft tortillas). I took a bite of the pulled pork and it was much to sweet for me to want anymore. Nevertheless, the growing boy ate it all.

Sandwich and Salad Lunch Special ($11)
Even though the menu states that the lunch combos are only served from Monday to Friday, they actually allow it every day of the week. So my mom gleefully chose half a Turkey Avocado Club and half a side of Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. Impressed by the quality and quantity of both dishes, she thoroughly enjoyed her meal. The turkey burger was generously packed with thick-cut turkey, avocado, crisp vegetables, and a slice of bacon. Her only complaint was that regular sandwich bread would have worked better than the kaiser bun. She loved the balsamic dressed quinoa salad; it had lots of fresh vegetables and a hefty portion of quinoa underneath. This combination makes for a very filling lunch. 

Our waitress came with our bill before we asked for it, indicating that it was brought not to rush us but purely because she would be off work soon. That's fine with us. Her service to us was relatively good throughout, but at times I felt like her pace was hurried for no reason. Perhaps it's her efficient 'get-it-done' personality. With the bill came a $10 coupon that could be used for any purchase, even under $30.

Chad's is open for breakfast everyday starting at 7am, and although there are only a handful of breakfast entrees, all of them are enticing. Especially with the $10 off any purchase, it is a really good deal. I will definitely consider coming back for breakfast, and potentially lunch, but not so much dinner as the menu doesn't provide many options and the prices are pretty high.

Chad's West Coast Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon  

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

Full menus after the jump!

Edible Canada at the Market: Dine Out Vancouver 2014

It's time for Dine Out Vancouver again! Undoubtedly the largest city-wide food event every year. Well over 200 restaurants are participating, making 2014 the biggest Dine Out Vancouver so far. On the opening day of reservations, I went through each and every menu to see which one appealed to me the most. The variety Edible Canada offered seemed most welcoming for a large group with differing taste buds. I quickly made reservations through OpenTable for a Saturday night, as weekends fill up very quickly. As a side note, I really wanted to go to Bistro 101 as their menu was awesome and super affordable, but it was booked solid within the morning hours of opening day. Crazy huh?

Dine Out Vancouver 2014 at Edible Canada Bistro
Located smack dab in the centre of Granville Island, Edible Canada caters to many tourist. Usually that is a negative connotation but Vancouverites have left relatively positive reviews for the little restaurant. There is very limited free parking around the island, so expect to pay for parking, at least up until 7pm. Since our reservation was for 6:15pm, we only had to pay one hour of parking ($3.50 per hour). 

Seating inside Edible Canada Bistro
I was surprised at how small Edible Canada actually is. For some reason,  I envisioned it to be much larger. The photo above captures the entire seating area, with a few tables hiding behind the people in the forefront.

Part of the kitchen is open

There are two entrances to the restaurant; one that enters the little store in the back and another by the open kitchen. Servers will greet guests at both ends. I came a few minutes earlier than my reservation, but were seated amply at 6:15. 

Dine Out menu

Although I knew I would be ordering off the Dine Out menu, it's nice to know that their regular a-la-carte menu is also an option. Edible Canada prides itself in using seasonal and local ingredients and I think their menu certainly utilizes winter produce well!

An important note: the Fried BC Mountain Scallops are not actually scallops. 'Mountain Scallops' is euphony for sheep testicles. The waitress serving my parent's table explained that in detail while our waiter simply said "it's lamb." Not knowing exactly what it was, my friend bravely tried it. There was one small piece, the size of a slice of tomato. He commented it just tasted like chicken...

Crispy Humboldt Squid
Since 'scallops' were no longer an option for me, I chose to have the Crispy Humboldt Squid for my appetizer, and I am so glad I did. While the calamari I often have at My Greek Taverna is not half bad, it's been a while since I've had calamari this good. As a reference point, the best calamari I've ever had was at Market by Jean Georges at the Shangri-la Hotel; Edible Canada's is extremely similar. Super, super, super tender and bouncey, my jaw muscles didn't have an intense work out to bite through these. The batter was light and crispy, thinly coating each 'finger' of squid. Each piece was about a centimetre in width so each bite was meaty. It was divine! The squid ink aioli was yes, intriguing, but no, not flavourful. Squid ink doesn't have a dominant flavour, it's more for the colour contrast. The shaved fennel salad on the side was delicious! It was my first time trying fennel, and I've heard non-stop glorification for this little used plant. True to descriptions, fennel has a mild licorice flavour. Not overpowering, but a very unique taste. Thin slices of fennel were accompanied with some thinly sliced radish and, I believe, apple for sweetness. 

Celeriac & Apple Soup
Since my brother isn't a seafood eater (nor a lamb testicle eater), he ordered the Celeriac and Apple Soup. The portion is on the smaller side, but that's acceptable since it's only an appetizer. I had a little spoonful and the soup was very creamy and kind of sweet. There are little chunks of apple that add a little crunch.

Seared Lois Lake Steelhead
Despite having salmon pretty often (love living in Vancouver!), this Seared Lois Lake Steelhead dish was impressive. Lighting tapping the skin with my fork, I knew the skin was super crispy. Quoting my brother, who is a picky seafood eater and also had the same dish, it was a "fish I know I will enjoy." The crispy skin had to be the highlight of the fish. Unlike my last year's Dine Out experience at The Boathouse, the fish was just cooked, keeping the middle moist and smooth. (Regarding The Boathouse: A seafood restaurant overcooking fish is a failure. And halibut too!) My meal at Edible Canada opened up opportunities to try many new foods, and sunchokes are next! Also known as a Jerusalem Artichoke, these ginger-looking root vegetables have a texture between an artichoke and a potato. They were cooked until super soft but with a crispy side and I thought they were delicious! If only they were more readily available at the supermarket. I haven't had the best experiences with cooked kale at home; mine were tough and tasteless so I've been sticking to kale chips. But the kale here changed my mind. It was not completely limp and wilted, but it was soft enough to chew without too much effort and seasoned just right. The bits of boar bacon really added a punch of smoky flavour. I'm no advocate for bacon (please don't hate me) and usually avoid it. But the little slivers sprinkled over the kale just took the dish to a whole new level. It was what bacon should always taste like.

Left: Bacon Ice Cream Sundae, Right: Chili Dark Chocolate Pudding
I didn't notice all the supplementary costs until after I made the reservation. While I understand that some ingredients are costly, it kind of defeats the purpose of a prix fix menu. That leaves diners with three options per course instead of the seemingly five options. This Bacon Ice Cream Sundae was an additional $2 but the description really lured me in. Brownie? Ginger? Ice cream? You see, I love the idea of a hot and cold dessert. To my dismay, this was nothing like I envisioned. The presentation was cute, but the quality did not match the other two dishes I had that night. The brownie bits where packed full of ginger flavour which I loved, but it was hard, dry, and much too chewy. And although I'm not a fan of bacon, there was one, exactly one, no more than one tiiiiiiiny piece of bacon in the whole dessert. That is not an exaggeration. My brother kept eating my dessert hoping to come across a piece of bacon. I ended up finding that one piece. It had no distinct smokiness like the boar bacon, in fact I think it didn't match the dessert whatsoever. There was also a few whole pieces of walnut, but it didn't even taste toasted so it was rather out of place as well. Overall a very disappointing dessert.

In contrast, the Chili Dark Chocolate Pudding was heavenly. Thick, luscious, smooth, and rich, this pudding ranks as one of the best chocolate puddings I've ever had. My brother is learning well from watching Food Network; the chocolate pudding had a "peppermint feel, but backwards." Meaning that he anticipated a cooling effect but felt a bit of heat instead at the back of the throat. It's quite an interesting experience! The chili wasn't super strong, but it gave a little kick as it moved down the esophagus. I wish I had gotten a few more spoonfuls of the dessert! 

The portions were, to be tactful, dainty. I felt the portions were just right as I didn't leave feeling like I had consumed enough to last me for a week. But those with a bigger appetite may not feel satisfied. My friend's grandparents ordered the Kurobuta Pork Belly and it was teensy tiny. Three pieces would've been needed to fill them up reasonably. The most filling entree would be the Lamb &  Barley Stew; my mom had that and she said the flavours were right on and the portion was generous. My best friend splurged and paid an extra $20 for her Filet Mignon. That was a full dish with a 6 ounce serving of steak, a large square of some vegetable gratin, and a handful of roasted vegetables. I mean for that much more money, it better have been filling! 

The service differed depending on the server. The waitress serving my parents table appeared much more enthusiastic and willing to serve. My waiter, however, left something to be desired. Our water was filled very regularly, so I can't say we got zero service. But it was all done without a word or smile. My friend said that he felt the waiter was actually picking on us due to our young(er) age. We just didn't get a very good vibe from our waiter. What angered my parent's table the most was how unprofessionally another waiter told them to leave. He came by once and said "we need this table shortly" and then came back again and sternly said "we need this table VERY shortly." My mom's friend wasn't even finished her coffee and we had been in the restaurant for less than one and a half hours. This left a bitter aftertaste to their experience at Edible Canada.

I recommend sticking to the dishes without additional costs as they taste even better than the ones that cost more. (Such as the pork belly and the sundae). Overall the quality of the food is good, nothing was over cooked and the flavours were balanced. On a scale of ten, I would give this meal a seven.

Edible Canada at the Market on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Myoung Dong Khal Kook Soo 명동 갈국수

A trip through North Road is not complete without some Korean food. I have widely pronounced my love for the little gem of a restaurant, Kimbap Cheonguk. There are many other nooks and crannies of North Road (aka Koreatown) that I have yet to venture into, so I convinced the family to try something new today. There aren't that many reviews for Myoung Dong Khal Kook Soo, but all the ones out there seem to be good. I know some of my Korean schoolmates have eaten there as well.

Find Myoung Dong Khal Kook Soo in here!
I though Kimbap Cheonguk was a hole-in-the-wall, and then I came here. It wasn't terribly difficult to locate, as I saw some photos on other blogs. Here are some tips to help you find this little eatery:
  • Park in the plaza lot where Hannam Supermarket is
  • Look for the stairs that lead to the upper plaza
  • Underneath the staircase, look for the automatic sliding doors
  • The yellow speech bubble I added onto the photo points to the sign which says 'Myoung Dong Khal Kook Soo' in Korean and the English simply says 'Korean Restaurant'.
Myoung Dong Khal Kook Soo
Once inside, the restaurant (or more like a single-stalled food court) will be to the right. You can't miss it with its bright yellow walls. There is also a travel agency, coffee shop, and a few other small businesses sharing the same indoor plaza (all of which were closed Sunday). 


As my parents noted, their menu is not friendly to non-Koreans, or those unfamiliar with Korean food. The menu is divided up into four columns: dumplings, noodles, rice, and snacks. I'll describe each item:

- Giant dumplings
- Giant dumplings with spicy sauce
- Rice cake & regular dumplings
- Regular dumplings in soup
- Knife cut noodles
- Knife cut noodles with regular dumplings
- Noodles with spicy sauce
- Chewy Noodles (see Jjol Myeon here)
- Rice, beef, and vegetables in a hot stone pot
- Rice, beef, and vegetables in a regular bowl
- Spicy squid and rice
- Marinated beef and rice
- Spicy beef soup
- Rice cake in soup
- Korean sushi roll
- Spicy rice cakes
- 1kg of kimchi

Place your order at the cashier. Seating and drinks are self-serve; there's a hot and cold water dispenser off in the corner. Trays and dirty dishes are returned on top of the newspapers by the water machines.

Myoung Dong (sorry, I must shorten the name) is a couple-run business, the wife rings up orders on the cashier, organizes orders, and cleans up the tables. The husband is in the kitchen doing the cooking. Despite only having two staff, the food came out very efficiently. There were not that many customers when we went on a Sunday at lunchtime, so service was quick. Keep an eye out for your own order, you'll have to retrieve your tray(s) from the front. 

Karl Gook Su ($7.95)
Karl Gook Su (or Khal Kook Su or Kal Guk Su...), is Korean comfort food. Nothing extravagant here, but since the restaurant is named after this dish, gotta try it right? Don't be fooled, because this bowl contains a lot of noodles. At least enough for two people. Paired with the noodles is some minced beef, carrots, zucchini, and quite a bit of onion. My mom didn't think the onions matched the noodles, but I thought it tasted fine. The broth isn't super strong, but it's flavourful enough to slurp up. However, I found the noodles to be overcooked, past al dente, so it was too soft for my liking. This Karl Gook Su isn't something I would specifically recommend, but it isn't bad. Remember, it's comfort food. Very filling comfort food.

Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap ($10.38)
I admit, the Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap was the main reason I wanted to come. While Kimbap Cheonguk across the street serves an amazing 'modern' rendition, I was in the mood for the traditional kind, with lots of colourful vegetables. Although it's a bit pricier here, this dish was spot. on. Made perfectly. Complete with an egg on top. It's a large bowl, served sizzling hot! I know it's difficult to be patient when your stomach is calling, but let it sit for a minute or two to let the crispy layer of rice develop before mixing it all together. Add a generous squeeze of the hot sauce that accompanies the rice and oh my, oh my, you've got a perfect meal right there. The stone pot rice here is perfect!

Oh and that bowl of soup is a broth made of daikon radish and some green onion. Plain and even blander than the noodle soup. We got two, so two of the dishes we ordered came with a soup. Don't know which ones though..

Wang Man Doo ($8.95) and Kim Bob ($4.19)
This was my first time eating Wang Man Doo. Five of these massive, fist-sized, steamed dumplings stuffed with a juicy pork and vegetable mixture would make for a hefty meal. Two ladies sitting at the table behind us shared one bowl of Karl Gook Su and one order of these 'king-sized man doo' as their meal. Like xiao long bao, the wrapping is thin and a bit of soup came spilling out when I cut my dumpling into half. While my dad though these dumplings were nothing special, my mom and I think they are yummy. With a splash of the accompanying sauce and a bit of the spicy pepper sauce I will mention below, these are simply delicious. 

The Kim Bob here is not bad here, but it isn't especially good either. The filling is lacking and the price is expensive compared to other places, such as Kimbap Cheonguk. Even Hannam Supermarket next door sells two rolls for only five dollars. I wouldn't bother getting kimbap here again.

Spicy Pepper Sauce
A little pot of this spicy pepper sauce sits at each table. The peppers look really fresh so I suspect it is made in house. The flavour of this hot sauce is different than others, can't exactly explain how but I guess fresh is always special! My mom kept praising this condiment throughout the meal. Be warned that the peppers are really spicy!

The kimchi here is really good, and they give a lot of it as well! One plate was mainly the stalk of the cabbage and the other plate was mainly the leaves. They also make the kimchi in house, and it can be purchased for ten dollars per kilogram.

The total for our lunch for four came to about $33, which is very economical for the amount of food we received. The owners are very kind and soft-spoken. Although I utilizied my limited Korean vocabulary when ordering, it was evident that it was my first time here. The owner treated us just as warmly as all the other Korean customers. Yes, yes, my mother still argues that Kimbap Cheonguk is cheaper, but eating the same dishes every time is boring. Nevertheless, we all enjoyed our meal and I'm sure we'll come back for more giant dumplings and stone pot rice.

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Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡