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PINGS
I took another trip to Pings after hearing that they changed their menu, plus I have been hearing numerous reviews from friends giving the place great praise. We took a trip to Pings late on Saturday night at 9:30pm, after my soccer game.

I enjoy the atmosphere in the restaurant but I miss the old run down Pings signage. The menu was filled with tapas items which is quite different from my first visit. As my friend commented everything sounded great but of course my pessimistic ass said of course everything sounds good off the menu thats why they write it like that (yeah, sometimes I can be that super negative guy that no one wants to hang with).


After perusing through the menu we got our order together. We ordered the following:

Kinpira ($3.50) - Burdock root and carrot. The textures and taste were fantastic. The sauce consisting of mirin and shoyu was a nice complement to the various textures.
Tofu Bang Bang Salad ($8.00) - A fantastic salad. Lettuce mixed with carrots, daikon, cucumbers and tofu crispy wonton skin. The crunchiness of the wonton skin made this a wicked salad. Very well thought out.
Pings Poutine ($7.00) - Fries with vegetable curry and paneer on top. This dish had some very interesting flavours.
Ika Karaage ($6.00) - An excellent deep fried dish.
Sake drunken chicken ($6.00) - The flavour from these things blew my mind.
Baked Scallops - Off the daily menu. Holy crap these things were amazing.
Black Sesame Ice Cream - the first spoonful was interesting but after that I couldn't stop eating it. I then became that guy who eats way more than his share.

I also ordered a glass of Suntori Whiskey which was incredibly smooth. For relaxing times drink Suntori times. Those are some true words.

I have to admit the food was really damn good. Prices were reasonable, service was on point, and the atmosphere was great. Taste wise and value wise they got it down. Do yourself a favour and grab a crew and go try Pings out.

Pings
2702 Main Street
Vancouver
pingscafe.ca

Ping's Cafe on Urbanspoon
Matt




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Rob Rizk - Promoter and DJ - Gmanandrizk.com / Fortune Sound Club



1. Chambar , 562 Beatty Street

2. Market by Jean-George , 1128 West Georgia Street

3 Kingyo Japanese Izakaya ,871 Denman Street

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Gingerbread 2008 Timelapse from creative room on Vimeo.



An amazing event. 10 local architecture firms are competing to make the best gingerbread house. All entries must be made with edible materials and constructed at scale. More info here.

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Toshi Sushi
I managed to get in touch with Ben from Chowtimes.com and he suggested we meet at Toshi Sushi for dinner and some food blogger politicing. I haven't been here for a year but I remembered that I had to get there early. We got there at about 4:45 and there were already people forming a line, 5 mins later there was a line up of 10 people. If you are eating at Toshi's Sushi you really have to plan ahead, if you don't get there right when they open then you have to go about an hour later when the early crowd is finished their meal and is leaving. Every seat in the place was occupied within 5 mins of the doors being open. Not many restaurants have lines like this, Toshi's and Stephos are the only ones I can think of.

Ben and I perused through the menu and I suggested a few items. The box sushi ($7.25 - which is not on the menu but it seems that everyone now knows about it), the baked eggplant ($5.75 - which has become a very popular dish) , appetizer tempura ($4.50 - 2 prawns, 1 potato, 1 bean, and a sweet potato), the house roll ($6.75- prawn tempura, avocado) and the salmon cheek ($9.50).

The two sushi rolls showed up first and they were very tasty. The box sushi consists of a slice of prawn, salmon, scallop, spicy mayo, avocado, lemon with rind and then shaped in form of a box. It is a really tasty roll and the lemon rind adds a very refreshing element to it. The house roll was tasty but in my opinion didn't stack up to the box sushi.

One great thing about Toshi's is that they have very tasty cooked food. The tempura was very well priced, and was on par with most Japanese restaurants, but the highlight was the baked eggplant. I don't even like eggplant however when baked with a miso glaze, I have no problems shoving this thing down my throat. The last dish was the salmon cheek, crispy skin and flavourful meat. You can tell by the photos that it much more than just cheek (half the collar actually).

All in all, Toshis is a great spot. They offer a great selection of tasty raw and cooked food at an affordable price which makes them stand out from their competition. The only issue is that they draw long lines and they have a strict waiting list policy. You could be like us and go at 5:00 but I hate the fact that I am eating at the same time my grandpa would.

Check out the Chowtimes review of this meal. Chowtimes is one of the first food blogs of Vancouver. Real OGs.

Matt

Toshis
181 16th Ave
Vancouver BC

There appears to be a few rules at Toshis. It could be becoming the sushi nazi.

1. Please write your name and number of people in your party on the waiting list.
2. When name is called, all people must be accounted for. NO EXCUSES!
3. Groups larger than 6 people are not recommended.

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Izakaya style restaurants have been the big dining trend the past few years.  This year has been about izakaya restaurants opening their doors for lunch.  Kingyo on Denman St. being on the top of everyone's list, they too have stepped into the lunch game.  As you would expect Kingyo to do, they've stepped up the game and is offering a tight little lunch menu with straight bangers!  Kingyo is not messing around here.  They've kept the lunch opening pretty low key but the place was a full house this past sunday.  



Japanese people love nothing other than a good serving of curry on a winter weekend afternoon.  So I dropped in for their Kanazawa Katsu-Curry.  In Japan, curry served in fancy restaurants always come in elongated oval shaped dishes, not round ones (I don't know why).  My curry dish with pickles and cabbage on the side, good size pork cutlet on top of dark rich curry over rice all served in an oval dish reminded me of fancy outings with my grandparents in Japan.



My friend ordered the "Super Slow Stewed" Pork Kakuni Bowl.  A healthy serving of  the extra tender pork sat on top of a bowl of rice with green onions and nori sprinkled on top.  The order came with a bowl of miso soup, pickles and a little dish with japanese mayo with cod row just for the folks who like to eat their pork southern style.




The food was excellent and we capped off the lunch with their Almond Tofu for dessert.  The items on their menu range from $9~$14 with a Delux Bento for $16.  Most definitely going back for all their other items.


Kingyo

781 Denman St

604-608-1677

www.kingyo-izakaya.com


Kingyo on Urbanspoon


O-toro

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Ok, time is up. The pictures of all the entries are found here . Thanks to all who sent in an email.

A representative from Take 5 will pick their favourite ones and the winners will be contacted via email shortly.

Congrats to those who are selected and thanks to Take 5 for hooking up the gifts certificates.

Above: A picture of my on Halloween dressed as Lisa Simpson as the state of Florida.

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Took a trip to the island with a crew of friends and while walking around in the Cathedral Grove we were stopped by this dirty (unclean, as opposed to perverted) man. He came out of his RV and offered to sell us some chanterelle mushrooms. He gave us this very confusing explanation on how to identify the good ones and then told us a story about how he came face to face with a cougar (he did an amazing re enactment of the cougar).

We bought a few handfull of mushrooms for 20 bucks and we were very excited to cook them up the next day after they dried out. I had a little concern that we bought magic mushrooms or some ones laced with poison. We took a picture of license plate when we left just in case someone had to investigate our death. In the end, they were tasty and we didn't hallucinate or die.

Chanterelle mushrooms rule


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I have decided to extend the Take 5 X Vancouver Slop contest until November 22, 2009. Here are a few of the entries so far.

Up for grabs are five $20 gift certificate to Take 5 Café so get your photo in ASAP.

Come on people. Almost everyone has a camera and / or a camera phone, don't be lazy.

Matt

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Blogging about restaurants can get very boring when you are eating meals that you would just call average. Mediocre food is easy to find.

I took a trip to La Taqueria after hearing many good things. This place blew me away! La Taqueria took over the old Nuba location, it is small with limited bar seating but it doesn't feel dirty or grimy.

La Taqueria states on their chalkboard that they use organic ingredients and make an attempt to source local products where possible. Soft tacos were $2.50 for the meat versions and $2.00 for the vegetarian/vegan options. I had three different types:

De Cachete - braised Chilliwak Pork Cheeks
Pescado - grilled seasonal fish with pico de gallo - today it was Albacore Tuna
Arrachera - house marinated Canadian AAA skirt beef

All tacos were served with cilantro, lime and onion. There were also pickled onions, jalapenos and three extraordinary homemade salsas to complement your tacos:

Mild - avocado and tomato
Medium - chipotle (ridonkers tasty!!!)
Hot - I think more traditional...can't do super spicy so we didn't try it out

The tacos were amazing. I felt that the mixture of sauces, meat and other ingredients was very well thought out . The beef and the pork cheek tacos blew my mind away.

I'm in love because this place is downtown, and hands down serves the best tacos in the city. As my friend stated, this place blows Dona Cata out of the water.

Go give this place a try. Highly recommended if you love Mexican tacos.

La Taqueria
322 Hastings Street West,
Vancouver, BC V6B 1K6
(604) 568-4406

P.S. They also have daily specials like chorizo, lamb, etc...my friend has tried many and says whatever it is, order it. Guaranteed amazing.

La Taqueria Taco Shop on Urbanspoon
Matt

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I cruised by Slickity Jims to take a look and then decided to grab some chow at Congee Noodle House. As always the meal was solid, we ordered the sweet and sour pork chop, large dow me yu (pea tips), chicken hot pot (not shown), black bean chicken chow mein and a bucket of rice. This time it cost a little more than usual, and ended up being 55 dollars.

You can't go wrong with Congee Noodle House, cheap and tasty. Question, anyone willing to admit that they tip less at Chinese Restaurants than other spots. My friend once said you ruin it for all the Chinese people if you tip too much.

Congee Noodle House
141 E Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6K 3A9

Congee Noodle House on Urbanspoon
Matt

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I got stuck in a serious traffic jam on my way to work, so I ducked off the beaten path of 12th ave and went down to Broadway only to find a group of fire trucks and police cars. There was a massive fire on Broadway and Main. I wasn't sure what was affected unitl I heard on the radio that Slickity Jims, and Kishu Star were burnt down. Slickity Jims was a staple for some of my Main Street friends. I only ate their once and the food was pretty good and I did find an egg shell in my breakfast and I planned on returning but I guess that may never happen.

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Jeff Hamada - Booooooom (one of the best sites on the internet says VancouverSlop, Technorati and everyone)

Guu (Gastown)
My favourite of all the izakaya joints in Vancouver. Fantastic service and probably the best quality Japanese cuisine you'll find at this price. I always get the Tuna Tataki, Ebi May, and I like their verision of Okonomiyaki.

Tandoori Kona (Richmond)
This is my favourite spot for Indian food. Great quality butter chicken and very flavourful curry. Ridiculously cheap lunch specials, too. If you're ever in the area, it's worth it.

Nuba (Downtown location)
If you're looking for a Lebanese spot this is it. One of the best falafelsI've had in the city. I recommend the toasted deluxe!

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Burger Heaven
This lunch at Burger Heaven reminded me of my times in the suburbs in the 90s. Old cartoon art that looks like Garfield or Marvin, low rider trucks and some folks with some truly suburban hair cuts.

I only had a short amount of time to chow, so I kept my order simple, a bacon, mushroom, cheddar burger with fries/wedges (13 bucks) and a bottomless pop. I am one of those kids that takes full advantage of the bottomless pop and I usually have at least two or three refills during my sitting. The service was on point even though the place was busy and the atmosphere was interesting (hanging plants, old photos of customers, old cartoon art, and media accolades framed on the wall).

The burger was one of the sloppiest ever. Stacked with mushrooms, dripping with cheddar and two slabs of bacon hanging off of it, this burger guaranteed a stain on my pants. Taste wise the burger was juicy and flavourful. Not quite exploding with flavour but really damn good. It ranks high on my list of burgers, perhaps in the top three (better than Veras). The wedges weren't that great but you can upgrade to yam fries if you want. The problem is how often do you make trips to New West? I make an occasional trip to go antique/vintage shopping and next time I will grab a burger after and then some maple soft serve ice cream at this other spot that I forget the name of.

Burger Heaven
77 10th St
New Westminster, BC

Burger Heaven on Urbanspoon

Matt

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Kalamata
I find there are many pitfalls with Greek food. The meat is too dry, the potatoes are not crispy enough, the rice is just bland or it is just not worth the price tag. I like many have stood in line for Stephos and walked out stating that was a great meal/great deal. I like many have also walked two doors down to Takis and said screw the line up at Stephos.

I needed a new Greek joint and I have tried many but always walked away unhappy until now. Kalamata was recommended to me by a friend that was hit and miss with previous recommendations. This time it was a hit. We ordered the beef souvlaki and the garlic prawns. The meals come with a nice sized Greek salad. I substituted mine for a green salad but regreted it because the raspberry dressing was weird and the Greek salad was way better.

The prawns were garlicky as described, actually really garlicky. Bring some gum or breath mints cause you will be representing halitosis when you leave. The rice was super flavourful, potatoes were great and the beef was tasty and moist.

Service was a little slow but the food was great. The price was on par with most Greek Restaurants at about 15 dollars per dish. Best Greek food in town? I wouldn't say that but it is a new fav.

Kalamata
388 West Broadway
Vancouver BC

Kalamata Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Matt