T&T: Convenient During Busy Times

I’ve been busy with meetings recently so my eating schedule is a bit messed up with lunch being at 3 and dinner at 9 :( Sigh, such is life. So, I’ve had to enjoy many meals in the luxury of my old and stuffy car. While driving. Yea, it probably wouldn’t be wise to copy me… Anyways, I decided to grab some food from T&T the other day since I haven’t had food from there in a long time and it was convenient!

IMG_0922_Fotor

Salmon Crazy Sushi ($7.99):

The farmed salmon nigiri was actually not as bad as I had been expecting, the salmon was smooth and buttery although lacking flavour. The rice, predictably, was dry and a little hard without any flavouring. The wild salmon nigiri had a slight fishy taste to it and the tamago nigiri was bland and lacked fluffiness. The california roll was pretty good with a minimal amount of rice and a decent crab meat mixture.

 

IMG_0919_Fotor

Mango Tapioca Cup:

Of course, I can’t forget about dessert! I actually quite enjoyed this since there is a strong taste of mango and plenty of little tapioca pearls. The pudding is on the stiffer side though and becomes quite heavy as you get down to the last few bites.

 

T&T does its job by providing an astounding variety of food items for the busy person on the go. While the food isn’t the best and the prices aren’t the cheapest, it’s convenient and at least I know it will suppress my hunger for a few more hours.
T & T Supermarket 大統華超級市場 on Urbanspoon

Vivacity Restaurant: Decent. That’s About It.

Dim sum again? Yep, my mom seems to refuse to believe that there are other types of food available… This time, we decided to go to Vivacity Restaurant in Richmond! I remember going there a few years back but it wasn’t very memorable so I was excited to try the food again :)

IMG_0842

Stir-fried Rice Noodle w/ Beef:

The rice noodles were pale in colour and did lack that wok hei to give it more flavour. I was surprised that the noodles weren’t too oily since that is uncommon in most Chinese restaurants. There was also an ample amount of beef. Decent-tasting and it did its job as a filler.

 

IMG_0844

Steamed Rice Roll w/ Chinese Donut:

The rice noodle was actually smooth and and not too dense in texture. However, the Chinese donut was not as fresh because it was not airy and the donut was hard to chew through.

 

IMG_0845

Rice Roll w/ Spareribs in Hotpot:

This dish arrived to the table bubbling with plenty of steam rising up! Not too salty, the rice noodle rolls had a nice silky texture and lots of flavour from the sauce. The spareribs were extremely tender but at the same time quite fatty. It’s best to eat this immediately as once it sits for too long, the fat and starch thickens the sauce and everything begins to taste very heavy.

 

IMG_0849

Steamed Shrimp Dumpling:

The skin had a slight translucency and was the right thickness. Unfortunately, it was too wet as the dumplings stuck to each other and broke when picked up. The shrimp filling consisted of mainly whole pieces of shrimp with a nice snap to them.

 

IMG_0850

Steamed Beef Ball:

The meat had a good bouncy texture and an appropriate amount of spices for flavour. No complaints.

 

In general, I enjoyed my visit to Vivacity Restaurant but I would not visit again unless I’m in the area. The food was decent but that was it. Certain aspects were executed well and others could use some improvement but on the whole, it did the job. The prices aren’t too high and service was generally attentive and friendly by most of the staff.
Vivacity Restaurant 名都海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

Peninsula Seafood Restaurant: That’s Some Pricey Dim Sum…

When my mom suggested that we try out Peninsula Seafood Restaurant, I immediately had some reservations. Looking at the UrbanSpoon reviews and having worked at Oakridge before, I am aware of the “particular” clientele that this mall attracts. The expensive cars parked out front don’t help either. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try and see if the restaurant deserved such a low rating!

IMG_0862

House Special Shrimp Dumpling:

This comes with 6 pieces instead of the usual 4 so I guess that justifies the higher price? I found the skin to be on the thicker side, hence being a bit too chewy. The shrimp filling, however, consisted of whole pieces of shrimp that had a good snap to them and was flavoured nicely with sesame oil.

 

IMG_0866

Poached Beef Ball and Watercress in Superior Soup:

Now these are a definite miss. The meat was over tenderized and lacked a bite to them, felt a bit too spongy… The beef balls were quite bland and I didn’t get what was so “superior” about the soup, tasted like a typical broth to me!

 

IMG_0864

Pan Fried Rice Noodle Rolls with XO Sauce:

The rice noodle rolls were actually cooked well with a nice caramelization and enough wok hei. A bit oilier than necessary, but the noodle rolls were smooth and not too doughy. There was also an ample amount of mushrooms, bean sprouts, and pickled greens.

 

IMG_0867

Peninsula Bun:

These took a very long time to arrive and didn’t show up until we were pretty much done everything else! Baked to order, the buns were extremely pillowy soft and airy. The topping seemed a bit pale, but it was sufficiently crisp and mildly sweet in flavour. The buns encased a taro filling that actually had small chunks of taro in it. Aromatic and flavourful without being too sweet.

 

Peninsula actually wasn’t as bad as I had been preparing myself for. The food is actually very well-prepared in some aspects and the service was very good during our visit. However, I do understand that the prices may seem atrocious. This meal for two costed a bit over $50 after tax and tips, and the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

Peninsula Seafood Restaurant 半島公館 on Urbanspoon

Sushiyama: Cheap and Delicious Dinner!

I generally have mixed feelings when it comes to my birthday dinner with the family. On one hand, I get to sample a variety of dishes without having to pay a single penny! On the other hand, they don’t have the same enthusiasm as I do when it comes to taking a lasting memory of the food that we’re eating. So, I have to quickly snap a photo and grant them the permission to eat while they watch the food like vultures! But all in all, it was a nice birthday dinner and I was pretty satisfied with the food :)

IMG_0804

Miso Soup:

Included with the katsu don, a bowl of miso soup costs $1.25 normally. Nothing spectacular – lacking ingredients inside and it was on the saltier side.

 

IMG_0807

Fresh Oyster ($4.50):

Didn’t get to try one of these, but apparently it was decent and fresh-tasting enough.

 

IMG_0808

Katsu Don ($6.25):

This was a very good deal for the generous portion! The pork cutlet was nicely breaded with a crispy exterior while the inside remained moist and tender. It was very well-seasoned with the flavours of the sauce being noticeable and flavouring the rice underneath without making it wet and mushy. The egg was also soft and silky, yum!

 

IMG_0809

Agedashi Tofu ($3.50):

The agedashi tofu tasted exactly like my expectations based on its appearance. Which is… not that pretty. The tofu that was used was not silky enough, resulting in a texture that was too rough and hindered the taste. There was quite a strong taste of oil and batter was a bit gummy so I would skip on this next time.

 

IMG_0811

Sushi Pizza ($8.75):

I’ll admit, this was the only reason why I chose to go to Sushiyama because I remembered having this a few years ago! Did I enjoy it as much as I did back then? Yep :) I love the combination of the crispiness from the rice base, creaminess from the imitation crab meat, and butteriness from the fish along with the crunchy texture of masago on top. It tasted like a party in my mouth with all the different textures coming together! Not authentic at all, but still delicious nevertheless.

 

IMG_0812

Prawn Tempura ($8.50):

The prawn tempura had a relatively light batter while the shrimp itself had a good bouncy texture.

 

IMG_0813

Yam Tempura ($4.50):

Once again, the batter was light and not too oily. This seemed to be a better deal compared to the prawn tempura!

 

IMG_0814

Sake Sashimi ($8.50):

The salmon sashimi was presented quite nicely with some garnishes to fancy up the dish. The cut of the fish was very interesting though – almost like a fan shape. Tastewise, it seemed to be lacking some flavour but the texture was firm and buttery.

 

IMG_0816

Caterpillar Roll ($7.00):

Cucumber, avocado, mayo, crab meat, unagi. This is the green roll at the bottom of the picture. I liked this roll a lot as there were plenty of slices of fresh and creamy avocado. It does kind of look like a caterpillar!

Salifornia Roll ($6.00):

Deep-fried roll consisting of salmon, cucumber, avocado, crab meat, mayo. This is the roll on the left of the picture. Out of all the specialty rolls that I tried, this was my favourite. The cooked salmon was extremely tender and went well with the other components. The crispiness of the roll from being deep-fried brought everything together.

 

IMG_0817

King’s Gate Roll ($7.00):

Prawn tempura, cucumber, avocado, crab meat, masago, lettuce, scallop, mayo. This is the roll at the bottom of the picture. It tasted fine, but I probably wouldn’t order this again. It wasn’t memorable and although each of the individual components tasted okay on its own, it didn’t really come together as a roll for me.

Dragon Roll ($7.00):

Cream cheese, avocado, salmon, unagi. This is the roll at the centre of the picture. I personally love dragon rolls so of course, I enjoyed this roll. All of the components were delicious and I didn’t mind the cream cheese because it was only a small portion.

Red Dragon Roll ($7.50):

Unagi tempura, cream cheese, avocado, salmon. This is the roll on the left of the picture. First of all, I didn’t understand why the roll was so small when it arrived! It was a bit underwhelming and even though it was decent tastewise, I would choose the dragon roll over this.

 

IMG_0818

California Roll ($3.25):

With the more basic rolls, they served as fillers since they didn’t taste remarkably delicious but were decent enough. I appreciated that the avocado was very fresh in the california roll.

Dynamite Roll ($4.00):

The dynamite roll was acceptable but I have had better elsewhere.

 

IMG_0819

Party C ($23):

Consists of 6 pieces of salmon maki, tuna maki, and kappa maki along with a california roll, dynamite roll, philadelphia roll, and yam roll. The salmon maki was pretty good with fresh salmon. The tuna maki was a little bit fishy-tasting but still decent. The kappa maki was good. The california roll and dynamite roll were the same as above. The philadelphia roll is good for those who like cream cheese in their rolls but I found it a bit too overwhelming. And you’re probably wondering, where is the yam roll? Well…

 

IMG_0821

They somehow managed to send out the tray without the yam roll! I don’t know how that happened because there’s a big empty spot where the roll should have been… But they did send out the yam roll a few minutes later on its own so it’s all good! The roll was very filling with a nice sweetness from the yams although I always feel that yam rolls are too dry.

 

In general, I enjoyed my visit to Sushiyama. There are certain dishes that I can’t wait to eat again and also some that I will definitely skip next time. On a whole, the food was delicious and the prices were very reasonable since everyone was stuffed and the bill ended up being lower than I had expected. However, the service is not the best at times since the servers are running around frantically so it can be difficult to catch their attention during busier hours.
Sushiyama on Urbanspoon

Yummy Sushi: Better than Bon’s?

I’ve always loved getting breakfast food in restaurants even though I know I could easily cook up a plate myself. But sometimes, I can get a traditional American-style breakfast for such a cheap price that it beats having to clean up pans afterwards! No, I’m not talking about Bon’s this time, but a restaurant called Yummy Sushi in the Fairview area! Aside from the interesting name choice, they’re popular for their $2.99 breakfast special so I had to pay a visit to see if it would be better than Bon’s.

IMG_0895_Fotor

Breakfast Special ($2.99):

For 3 bucks, you get 2 eggs, your choice of bacon/sausage/ham, hash browns, and 2 pieces of toast. Well, the value is definitely there! I chose my eggs scrambled and they came out looking very homestyle, similar to the scrambled eggs that my mom makes. Still tasty though. I chose sausages and I appreciated that they were not overly salty even if they were just a tad too oily. The hash browns needed a bit more time in the pan, as it was missing the browning and crispiness that I love. They were completely bland though and required a generous portion of ketchup to give it some taste. The toast was typical and nicely toasted.

 

So, is Bon’s better or Yummy Sushi? Taste wise, I think I have to give the point to Bon’s since their scrambled eggs are actually fluffy and their potatoes are crispy. However, the Asian lady that was serving us was just so cheerful and friendly that it made my visit really enjoyable. She was just constantly running around making sure that everyone was happy and things were running smoothly. And you know what? For only $3, I’m not going to complain about what I received!
Yummy Sushi on Urbanspoon

Earls: Overall, Good for Group Dinners

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a post! Life is busy, but then again, when is it not? Not much of a summer for me this year but ah well, that’s life. Anyways, this is actually a visit to Earls back in July but at least these photos get to see the light of day now! Since this was from a while back, I can’t recall all the details but I’ll try my best to recount the experience :)

IMG_0798

Mediterranean Calamari ($13):

Served in an ample portion, the squid had a nice bounce and chewiness to it. The batter was relatively light and the calamari was lightly seasoned so that I could take a few extra pieces without it being overwhelming. It definitely did not feel oily at all.

 

IMG_0796

Chicken Wings ($6):

Since we were there on a Wednesday, we were able to partake in “Wing Wednesday”, where the wings are half price! I know we chose salt & pepper for half of them but I can’t seem to remember what the other flavour was. I guess it doesn’t matter though, because salt & pepper was clearly the winner and was finished off first. The wings were acceptable but a bit dried out.

 

IMG_0799

Italia Pizza ($15):

Virginia ham, salami and chorizo, provolone cheese, parmesan, fresh basil, san marzano tomato sauce, hand tossed thin crust pizza. Never expected that I would be eating pizza at Earls! The pizza had a nice crispy thin crust and a spiciness that I enjoyed. Toppings seemed really sparse though because I could barely pick out the meats!

 

IMG_0793

Braised BBQ Back Ribs + Cajun Chicken Combo – Half Order ($25.50):

The ribs were tender and flavourful with the marinade. It was a large enough portion even for a half order. The cajun chicken, I remember, was too dry and not that appetizing. The potato salad was actually quite delicious, seasoned but not too heavy and the texture with the peel on was much appreciated. The crunchy coleslaw also provided a nice acidity that helped break down the heaviness of the other components.

 

IMG_0797

Mediterranean Linguini w/ Sautéed Prawns ($18.75):

The pasta was nicely cooked with an al dente consistency and the shrimp had a good bouncy texture. However, the dominant flavour of this dish was a sourness that overwhelmed the whole thing a bit. The tartness wakes you up, that’s for sure!

 

IMG_0800

Mediterranean Linguini w/ Chicken ($18.25):

The same flavours as above but I think the shrimp is a better option than chicken as the chicken was slightly too dry.

 

IMG_0802

Fettuccini Alfredo w/ Prawns ($18):

I was not able to try this but it looked quite appetizing :)

 

IMG_0801

Bacon Cheddar Burger w/ Yam Fries ($18):

I also didn’t get a chance to try the burger but the yam fries were crispy with a natural sweetness that you don’t get with regular french fries.

 

In general, I enjoyed my visit to Earls. While there were some misses with certain dishes, the food overall was delicious and there are a lot of options to suit everyone’s tastes. The service was attentive and friendly with constant check-ups. When dining in a big group, I don’t expect much but I had a pretty good experience at Earls!
Earls Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon