Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vancouver: Kintaro Ramen & More Poutine!

I love ramen.  I am addicted to ramen.  Just so happens Calvin & Alice both like it too, so we decided to make a little trek to West End for Kinarto Ramen, often rated as the best ramen spot in Vancouver.  It's located on Denman and that little area has a few other popular ones, including the huge ramen chain, Santouka!

I was expecting a long wait since it was lunch time and the weather was perfect for noodles, but luckily, we only waited about 20 minutes, and got seated at the huge communal table right next to the window.

Kintaro Ramen
788 Denman St
West End
Vancouver, BC V6G 2L5

Kintaro Ramen.

Not a big place at all.  A big communal table for about 8-10 people or so, the counter, and some twosome tables along the wall.

Part of their menu.  Like Shinshengumi in LA, you can choose the heaviness of your broth.

spicy garlic bbq pork ramen
I decided to go all out and got the Spicy Miso BBQ Pork Ramen, with fatty pork and rich broth.  Normally, their ramen comes with two slices of chasu, but if you get the BBQ pork ramen, you get more!  The menu recommends a medium broth with the spicy miso, but I felt like clogging up my heart a bit that day.

garlic ball
Went with the spicy miso as my soup base since it comes with this ball of fresh ground garlic!  You can tell from the fat marbling on my chasu that yes, it is the fatty pork.

spicy garlic
Alice's Spicy Miso Ramen.  This is the regular portion with medium broth and two pieces of leaner pork.  The broth is really top notch. 

cheese ramen
Calvin's Cheese Ramen.  A must for cheese lovers.  Definitely interesting, although a bit odd for me! You get their light broth and a piece of cheese to sit on top of the chasu slices. There's no option in terms of the strength of the broth so you can taste the cheese. The server said it was very popular with the ladies for some reason.  Maybe he was trying to say something to Calvin haha.

The cheese!  Don't know what type it is or maybe it is two different types?

Really glad I got to try Kintaro Ramen and it actually cracks the top 5 ramen spots I've been to!  The feel of the whole place is authenticity and it's easy to tell why it's been rated and featured as one of the best.


Afterwards, we decided to work our way back by walking on Robson and I came upon Bubble World Tea House!  I am addicted to milk tea as well, and I actually like to drink something like milk tea after a heavy meal.  Didn't have my phone with me to check how it was rated, but I was fine with it as long as it was better than Lollicup or Quickly.

Bubble World Robson 
1325 Robson St 
West End
Vancouver, BC V6E 1C6

bubble world
Outside.  It was completely empty inside and the guy wasn't even at the counter so I got a little bit worried.

milk green tea
Ended up getting a safe choice, Milk Green Tea, with half sugar.  It was actually pretty good and did satisfy my craving.  Very milky.  Sorta expensive though.  Actually everything's expensive in Canada.


Right before our flight, Amanda came out and met up with us, and she took us to a poutinery, Belgian Fries for more poutine since options are limited back home :P  I miss poutine..

Belgian Fries
1885 Commercial Drive 
Grandview-Woodlands, The Drive
Vancouver, BC V5N 4A6

belgian fries vancouver
Belgian Fries, "Best Poutine in BC"

We decided to go crazy with our last poutine in Vancouver and got a poutine with gravy, bacon, and a fried egg!  The fries are thicker than some of the others I've been to.

fried egg
Egg!  I live how the yolk is still runny.  Too bad I focused on the wrong thing with my camera :[

Nothing wrong with more bacon.  

The gravy is really good here.  Flavorful and thick.

The perfect way to end a trip in Vancouver: poutine!  I really don't know why it hasn't caught on in the States, considering how everybody love fries.  Again, thanks to Amanda for coming out and then taking us to Belgian Fries!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vancouver: Granville Island Public Market

Sorry for the lack of updates!  Been busy lately and I really wanted to make sure I had free time for this post since I had a ton of fun exploring Granville Island.  I'm a sucker for these sort of public market or farmer's market.  Usually you can find a lot of interesting and unique things that you can't find anywhere else, so I always try to make an effort to visit a local farmer's market if I can when visiting a new place, even if it is one as touristy as the Granville Island Public Market.

Granville Island Public Market
1661 Duranleau St
Granville Island/False Creek
Vancouver, BC V6H 3S3

granville island public market
Since the market opens fairly early and we were short on time, we woke up around 8am, checked out, took the cab to Granville Island, and started to explore the place.  It wasn't packed but plenty of people already.  Of course another gloomy morning.

It reminds me of a smaller Pike Place Market in Seattle.  Lots of local and organic fresh produce.  Not cheap at all O_o.

Seafood.  Again, not cheap, but the quality of the fish here does look amazing!

This particular vendor had lots fishes that Asians love haha.  

Starting to get crowded around 9am.  Lots of tourists, but plenty of locals as well shopping for the holidays.

One of the butcher shops.  There carry different wild games you don't really see in the States.  I remember seeing a pound of rib eye steak for over $20CAD!  By this point, I have decided that you must be fairly well-off to be buying your grocery here..

Stuart's, one of the first place we stopped by, cause we could actually afford it :P  

cookies & pastries
Variety of pastries and cookies!

our breakfast
Since the three of us didn't have breakfast yet, we decided to each get something.

chocolate croissants
I went with my usual Chocolate Croissant.  Chocolate-y, but not as flaky as I'd thought.

Alice's fruit pastry.  I actually like this better than the chocolate croissant. 

Strawberries on the other end!

cinnamon roll
Calvin's cinnamon roll.  Big!  Probably amazing if it was fresh out of the oven.

lee's donuts
The chocolate croissant wasn't enough and as soon as I saw a donut shop, I had to get something.  Gotta eat donuts in every city!

Asian owned!  They had all these Asian flavored donuts.  Very interesting.

Breakfast round two.

mango & melon
I decided to go with the mango filled and the melon cake!  Wasn't a fan of the melon cake donut since the melon flavor was really light.

mango filling
Mango-filled donut was awesome though!  Just like your normal jelly donut, except this has a mango custard/cream!  Tastes just like your Asian mango candy haha.  

fresh pasta
Variety of fresh raviolis!  If we stayed longer and the hotel had a kitchen, definitely all over this.

Crazy packed vendor selling charcuterie.

house smoked
They have all these crazy house-smoked items!  Wanted to buy a few slices just to try but the line was ridiculous.  I guess many were buying it as gifts to families and for Christmas dinners.

more cheese
Cheese vendor.

Cheeses.  Some imported, some local.

Of course, gotta have a florist at a market.

After devouring the two donuts, I needed a drink.  Decided to get something from Petit Ami.

Fair trade, organic, estate grown coffee!  Went for the latte.

Latte.  Nothing too fancy. 

found the maple gummy bears!
The whole time we were in Canada, we were searching for maple flavored gummy bears.  Didn't really know if it existed but we figured there was a very good chance that they do sell it somewhere.  Finally found it at the market!

found it!
Calvin super happy with his maple-flavored gummies!  Tasted odd though :P

fresh wasabi
Fresh wasabi!  $22/100g meant that is is roughly $110/lb of the spicy stuff o_O

Shot of the back of the market.

stock specialist
Want to buy stock to bring home so you can lie to your family and friends about how you spent hours making the soup?  Stock Market is your best friend then!

Before we left, I stopped by Granville Island Tea Company to buy some loose-leaf tea as gifts.  Learned a bit about all the different type of teas.

Decided on the organic Assam and the Formosa Oolong as gifts.  Granville Island Tea Company also sell chai tea, in addition to the loose leaf and the guy helping me out said that the organic Assam was the type of tea they use as base!  As for the oolong tea, Formosa oolong tea is quite common, and my family gets a lot from Taiwan, but I gotta say, the quality from Granville Island Tea Company's pretty good!  Even my mom was impressed.

In the back of the market, in addition to more food vendors, there were a lot of vendors selling paintings, crafts, soap, jewelry, and anything that people hand make.  You can also get a great view of Vancouver so we spent a bit of time outdoors taking pictures.  Since we were short on time and wanted to grab ramen in Vancouver, we did a quick walk and window-shopped through the rest of Granville, then took a cab back to downtown area for lunch.