Fulfilled longing for Longtail Kitchen

On my continued search for great Thai food near home, I think I have finally found my spot in Longtail Kitchen in New West.

I admit that I have been longing to go since I saw some of the dishes featured in “You Gotta Eat Here,” but was only able to try it last night, months after I saw the episode.

Found at the Quay, Longtail patrons benefit from some water views, although not much right now with some of the boarding up in  the boardwalk. You may be underwhelmed by the place’s appearance, which is very simple and basic, almost dive-like, but perhaps I am being too harsh. I was expecting more of a restaurant experience, but now remind myself that it is off of the Quay’s food court after all. We had to borrow a high chair from the food court as Longtail didn’t appear to have its own. The menu was short and on chalkboard. I was expecting more variety. Tables weren’t the cleanest as patrons are encouraged to bus their own, and food, even eating in, was not served on real plates. However, for those with environmental concerns, they were using what appeared to be bio-degradable cutlery and cute cardboard serving containers.

Look past all that, though, and let’s talk about the food. For the three of us we ordered their chicken wings with tamarind sauce on the side, the green papaya salad, the pad thai with shrimp, and the gailan with pork belly with rice. Again, because of the serving containers the appearance wasn’t the best but I think the food’s taste made up for it on the whole. The main disservice the containers do for the place is that it makes the food portion appear small, when that is not the reality! Even when we ate our fill, we had leftovers to bring home.

I didn’t get a great shot of the papaya salad, but I can tell you that I almost couldn’t stop eating it. It was spicy, so I knew I was only sharing with D., but still I had to restrain myself and leave at least half for her to enjoy as well. Very fresh, with a great kick!

chicken wingsJ. enjoyed the wings the most. That and the rice was pretty much all he could eat as the other dishes were spicy, even the gailan/pork belly one which was unexpected. It was a good portion for $8. It was four full-on wings (drummette, wingette, and tip/nub) so a lot of meat on the bone. The seasoning/light batter was a little sweet for my taste, but AFs know I don’t like sweet meat. The tamarind sauce was pleasing as a dipping sauce. I wouldn’t pour it on, but it’s a great accent. Our guesses are, other than tamarind, it probably includes some fish sauce, and perhaps a bit of shrimp paste as well.

shrimp pad thaiWhat I was really zoning in on was the pad thai. My other Thai restaurant excursions in this respect have not satisfied me. This one did. It tasted just as a pad thai should. The bean sprouts were fresh and crunchy and they love deep fried scallions as a garnish in almost all their dishes. The colour and taste of the pad thai was right on. Again a bit on the spicy side but exactly what my mouth was looking for! One critique may be that I am not sure if the $2 price difference from a tofu pad thai and a shrimp pad thai is worth it with only three shrimp provided. I’m not up on the latest food costs, so maybe that price is to be expected?

The real surprise was the gailan and pork belly. Its accompanying rice saved us when the sgailan pork bellypice from the salad and the pad thai were becoming too much. But, on its own, I really enjoyed it. The gailan was well cooked, and the pork belly was immersed in the dish’s sauce. The pork belly wasn’t crispy, but I think that would have taken away from the two main ingredients coming together in that dish. It was a welcome palette break from the intense spice of the salad and pad thai, however, it did have its own zing.

When ordering, I wasn’t asked about spice level, so I don’t know if there are options. If you plan on checking it out, ask, and let me know if they are able to adjust the spice to order.


Chomp at this chicken burger!

When I find a place that I enjoy, my habit is that I always order the same thing, because I enjoyed it so much the first time. The Bamboo Cafe is one example. I’ve posted about it before because I love their lip-smacking dry ribs.

Today, however, I prodded myself to move my eyes on their menu order board and try something else.

My latest discovery was their Chicken Club Burger. I had it to go and really wished that I took a pic so you could enjoy it with your eyes as much as I did with my taste buds.

Their chicken club is made with grilled chicken, thick-cut and crispy bacon, fresh large-leaf lettuce, crunchy pickle slice, and a firm yet juicy slice of tomato. All of this sits between a thick, yet soft ciabatta bun, and was quite the mouthful to bite all the way through. It was larger than I expected, and larger than most burger places serve. The mayo added to the “napkin-factor” of which I needed four in total. I had ordered a side of fries, but was so satisfied and full from the burger, I gave my fries away.

I know it’s been a few months since I last posted, so that in itself should be a testament to how much I enjoyed this burger! ‘Nuff said.

Pizza and Pasta from Pizzo Bella Cafe

A few nights ago we tried Le Pizzo Bella Cafe. I was looking for something in my neighbourhood and thought this was nearer to us than it actually was. It definitely isn’t walking distance, but it is just a short drive away.

It was only the three of us for dinner that night, but because of our different food desires I ordered three different items. The “All Meat” pizza for me, the “Gourmet Veg” pizza for D., and the ravioli for J.

I enjoyed all three items. The All Meat had great quality ingredients, including great spicy meat, a crispy but still light crust, and just the right amount of cheese (for me). The Gourmet Veg was excellent. The artichoke hearts were cooked to just the right texture for a pizza topping and I enjoyed the pesto.

When I saw their different pasta on the menu, I chose the ravioli. I didn’t realize it was baked, as the others actually said in the menu “baked spaghetti, baked penne”. Still, it was pretty good. They are very generous with the cheese, and they add drops of mozzarella cheese right before closing up the hot food package, meaning it would be even cheesier with the melt-factor. The pasta sauce, which their menu says is home made ended up being a bit spicy for J. but not for me, so I ended up enjoying the ravioli as leftovers.

I am intrigued by the “Le Pizzo Bella Mexicana” and hope to try it on my return….to be continued.

Le Pizzo Bella Café on Urbanspoon

Supper at Seoul Grill House

Last night, to help cap off a recent visit by my cousin B. from Winnipeg, a whole slew of us (kids included) took on supper at the Seoul Grill House in Surrey. My cousin-in-law S., organized a reservation for 18 of us, and this restaurant had an almost perfect set-up for that! They have long rows of tables that accommodated up to 16 and because of one absence and one late-arrival, that ended up fitting us to a T. Also, the mom in me can’t neglect to mention that in-between the rows of tables was still enough space to slide in a high chair in one of the middle regular tables (didn’t want the kid to be able to reach the in-table grills) and I thought it wasn’t much of an encumbrance at all.

It is my understanding that this placed used to be a different type of buffet, but is a fairly new Korean Buffet restaurant. Looking around there were some signs of that with new signage, or no signage for some of the food on the buffet tables. I think I even saw boxes of new kitchen equipment in the front entry. However, new also means a fresh opportunity to try something different in the area.

When S. described the buffet to me, I admit I was easily had at “it’s an all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque joint,” which translated to me as unlimited MEAT. However, I also had my hesitations as I imagined starving while awaiting the meat to cook on the grill, still traumatized by an experience I had years ago at a different Korean resto. What I appreciate at the Grill House was that they have a fair mix of cooked items that can (from my perspective) ‘tide you over’ while you are waiting for the meat.

20150329_173122I began with a pretty routine fried rice and a couple of fried chicken wings, while waiting on various meats on the grill, including marinated chicken, beef, pork ribs, and pork belly. I took a pic of my brother M’s meat layout as it seemed so symmetrically appealing. For me, the marinated beef was the most flavourful. I also enjoyed the pork side ribs but they took the longest to cook. I think the resto needs more readily available condiments to help increase the meat flavour profiles, unless there was a step I missed in terms of getting the items for grill before hand. They did have a small bunch of very basic condiments near the soup stations, but it didn’t seem a natural place for them given the meat cooler was at the other end of the long buffet table. I know that D. had to hunt down some vinegar to go with her pork belly. The staff change out the grill frequently, as the food may easily burn. But my sis and I was analyzing that and could see how it could work in their favour as well. Everytime they switch out a grill, it has to warm up again (not a super long delay) but still that can add up, and we know that in an AYCE situation, time can work against you as your brain catches up with your stomach and helps to realize that you are full. Speaking of time, they had a sign saying that there was a 90 minute maximum, but I think they were a bit relaxed on that which was good.

One surprise was a spicy seafood soup. I was looking to change up my palette after so much meat, and this soup certainly did that. It had claims, shrimp, and squid and the spice as promised. It also had bok choy which is one of my favourite veggies.

To cool off the evening many of use enjoyed the ice cream. An informal poll seemed to have mango as the top flavour, but the chocolate and strawberry were found in most bowls as well. Perhaps the mango-leaning was due to the all Asian tastebuds in attendance.

A few things on service: plates were collected fairly regularly, water was replenished on request (provided in these cute and covered water containers), and extra napkins were available from the servers. The weekend dinner rate is pretty pricey, and I’m not sure how much the menu would change from weekend to weekday, or from dinner to lunch, but I enjoyed enough of that meat (and other things) that I’m willing to make a return trip to find out.

Seoul Grill House on Urbanspoon

Flavour at a whole ‘nother level at Fat Duck

I love when I just come upon some great food by accident! Sometimes when you search for it, you get disappointed, so I love happy coincidences that bring good food and my mouth together.

I was working downtown and needed to eat lunch. Nearest food truck on my walking horizon was the Fat Duck Mobile Eatery. While it was a sunny day, it was pretty brisk (albeit by Vancouver standards), so I took it as a good indicator that there was a bit of a line.

20150113_124240I wasn’t feeling like having any sort of sandwich so I ordered the Dirty Rice Bowl, which is described on their menu as “infused rice with duck confit, braised pork butt & belly, pickled vegetables, scallions, cilantro, Kung Pao mayo and a sunny egg”, and all for just $10. From the first-bite my mouth was thrilled!

Every forkful brought on different textures with flavours that worked really well together. One bite might be from the crunchy pickled slaw. Another would be the tasty duck confit with perfectly cooked rice. Then you would take in a bit of the savoury pork belly that blended well with the Kung Pao mayo. The egg yolk added another dimension to the food as well. Then another bite would bring some crispy and fresh scallions into play helping to cleanse the palette a little and start the process all over again. I didn’t leave behind a thing. I haven’t had such a good meal for only $10 in a long time. Definitely makes the mmmmura scale.

Fat Duck Mobile Eatery Ltd. on Urbanspoon

Great Deal at Granada Pizza

As we are only six months into our new home, I am still hunting for restos in the neighbourhood. Last night was the search for delivery pizza not part of a chain. From a local flyer I found Granada Pizza in New Westminster. It’s funny. When I was searching for Granada on-line I came across a Facebook page for it that stated it may be permanently closed. Well I can tell you it definitely is open, and from the amount of flyers I receive about it weekly, I don’t foresee it closing too soon.

They have a “1 Large Pizza Special” on the front of their take out/delivery menu so I decided to try it. The special includes one large 3-topping pizza, 2 pieces of BBQ ribs, 1 large lasagna, 2 individual sized green salads, and 2 garlic toast, plus two cans of Coke for free (a common complimentary item in their larger specials, I soon learned), all for only $21.95 plus tax.

I know it may sound like a lot of food to order for two adults and a 15 month old, but I love eating bits of lots of things, so several things in a package is almost irresistible to me.

The food arrived at my pre-arranged delivery time and it was piping hot! The salad was very simple, with commonly packaged dressing. The garlic toast was only buttered on one side, but still a thick-cut slice. The ribs were a bit dry, but is basted in barbeque for serving, which helps. The lasagna tastes great, cheesy and meaty with a mild kick. My little one ate his all up.

After eating the salad, garlic toast, a side of ribs, and one serving of lasagna I was pretty full. I barely tasted the pizza and had plenty left over for the next day. While taste overall may be average, the food quantity and the price makes it a menu keeper for me and puts Granada into my mmmmura category (see my About page for further explanation). They have a number of other specials that I can try the next rainy, “don’t feel like cooking”, night.

Granada 2 For 1 Pizza Place on Urbanspoon