Nuba Restaurant

January 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

 

This Lebanese restaurant is a favourite of mine and the lunch special comes with a variety of healthy and vegetarian items. I often meet one of my good friends there for lunch as her office is right around the corner from their Kitsilano location. I usually get either the Falafel($12.75) or Najib’s special($13), crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt.  The lunch plate comes with hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, pita, olives and brown rice or potatoes. I get the potatoes and my friend orders half and half.

It’s a pretty big plate of food so I time my appetite and go fairly hungry. The service is quick at lunch and it caters to those who work in the area. Sometimes I get a seat a few minutes before my friend arrives and place our order so that we can relax and not feel rushed. The great thing about Nuba is that each of their four locations are designed differently and each one has its own unique personality.

I often run from Kitsilano beach along the Burrard Street bridge and eventually end up at the one downtown on Seymour Street. This one is more like a quick service cafe and after a 10K run, it’s a great reward. www.nuba.ca 

 

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Noodlebox Restaurant Vancouver

December 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

noodle box

My son and I went shopping for the Black Friday Sales that were happening in Vancouver. We left our house around 11am on Sunday morning and went to 3 stores including Costco. In less than 3 hours my 12 year old had bought gifts for all seven people on his list and within his budget.

I commented that I was so impressed with his budgeting and decision making skills and the amount of time that it took him to shop. He replied that he thought that it took long because I kept looking at stuff. He also said that he already had an idea of what to buy people and researched prices online.

We had worked up an appetite and decided to stop at the Noodle box Restaurant downtown on 839 Homer Street. I got the Spicy Peanut Noodle box and my son got the Kung Pao, both with tofu.

Mine had ribbon noodles with a coconut curry and veggies. My son’s was an egg noodle with a sweet chilli sauce and veggies. I love the Noodle box because the meals are huge and you always have leftovers. The wait is never more that 15 minutes and the atmosphere is nice for a casual quick service restaurant. Plus they always play good music and usually hip hop. Best of all, it’s a place that both my son and I enjoy and can share an experience over a bowl of noodles. Visit their website for locations, hours and menu, www.noodlebox.net.

Burma Superstar Restaurant San Francisco

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

tea leaf salad

Burma Superstar is a popular restaurant in San Francisco with multiple locations in the Bay area. My friends took me there for dinner and we ordered the tea leaf salad, a veggie noodle dish, and coconut rice with the okra tofu.

Burmese food is inspired by the various countries that it shares its borders with, that’s India, China, Laos and Thailand. The tea leaf salad was very lightly dressed with lemon juice and oil and had tea leaves that was imported from Burma. It was quite an usual flavour and the nuts and seeds balance the astringent quality of the tea.

burma superstar

The noodles were taught, the way that I like them, and the sauce went quite nicely and the broccoli. The curry was delicious and okra is one of my favourite asian vegetables. The coconut rice was a bit sweet and went nicely with the spiciness of the curry.

white sangriaTheir cocktail menu was impressive and I tried the white sangria that came with a lychee as a garnish. It was a refreshing and light drink which is what I wanted. Burma Superstar does not take reservations so arrive early. Visit their website for more information on their menu, locations and hours. www.burmasuperstar.com.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza – Lou Malnati’s vs Connie’s

October 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza

Chicago has many deep dish pizza restaurants and my friends took me to these two. My first night in Chicago, I tried Lou Malnati’s pizza and ordered the “Lou” which has spinach, mushrooms, roma tomatoes and three cheeses. This was their only vegetarian option and did not allow any substitutions.

The pizza took about two hours to arrive and by then I was starving. Lou’s pizza is much shallower than other deep dish styles according to my friends. The pizza was not as heavy as I had expected and the crust was thin and buttery. I ate one and a half pieces and was really stuffed.

Connie's pizza

Connie’s Pizza is notorious in Chicago and the official pizza for many of their sport’s teams. Their restaurant on Archer Avenue seats 100 or so people and was easy to get a seat on a saturday night. Their pizza comes in the option of thin crust, artisan, deep dish and stuffed. Plus their menu has a lot of other Italian options to choose from.

I created my own pizza and ordered a personal pizza with goat’s cheese, artichokes and green olives. After we ordered, the waiter brought a basket of buns with a sweet whipped butter. I ate a piece and saved my appetite for my pizza.

When the pizza arrived, I could not wait for it to cool before I dug in. I cut up a piece of the pizza with a knife and brought a piece to my mouth. The cheese was stringy and the pizza delicious. The flavours were perfect as it is my favourite pizza combination. The crust was crispy but did not have as much flavour as Lou’s.

I felt that Lou’s had a better crust but I liked the flexibility in Connie’s menu and being able to create a personal pizza. They are both great and I would eat at both places again.

Pizza in Venice

October 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

pizza venice

My fabulous trip in the Mediterranean had come to an end and I spend a day in Rome before I hopped on a train to Venice. It was my second time there and it was still as beautiful and magical as I had remembered. I was so shocked at the number tourists there, even though it was the end of September. It was difficult to maneuverer through the crowds and I was happy that I decided to get a hotel on the other side, on the island of Giudecca.

I found a cute restaurant along the water and ordered what would be my last pizza in Italy. The crust was a bit thicker than what I had in Rome and a little dryer though soft and chewy. The sauce was a nice balance of sweet and savoury. The cheese, tomatoes and arugula were placed cold on top and cooked slowly from the heat of the pizza base.

The pizza was amazing and as the toppings slowly cooked,  the flavour got better and better with each bite.  Just thinking about it, I am falling into a dream state. Eating pizza is no longer the same and now I’m on the hunt to find authentic Italian pizza at home.

venice

Turkey

October 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

turkish coffee

It was my first time in Turkey and I loved it. People were so friendly and the architecture was amazing. My first stop was Istanbul and I was blown away. The beauty of the city was so majestic and created a fairy tale like back drop. We got off the ship and headed straight to the famous Grand Bazaar for some shopping.

But, first I had to try Turkish coffee and found a shop and sat down. The coffee was served in this cute cup and I took small sips of the strong coffee. I’ve had turkish coffee before but not like this. About fifty percent was coffee grinds. It didn’t take many sips until I reached the top of the grinds which is when I decided to stop drinking. It was a bit too much for my taste and I prefer their apple tea which tastes similar to apple cider.

turkish food

All the walking and shopping in the bazaar got my appetite going. My friends were too busy to take a break so I left for half an hour to grab a quick bite to eat. I found a place that was full of locals on their lunch break and took a seat. Fortunately, the menus have photos and I pointed at a few things and ordered some vegetarian food.

I’ve noticed that the Turkish get confused when you order off the menu and way too much food arrived. I tried to ask them to make a plate that contained all the items that I wanted but instead they brought me all the items separately. It was enough food for three.

I started by trying the salad that had a lemon juice and olive oil dressing with a turkish spice that was amazing. Next I tried the white eggplant salad which was fire roasted and lightly marinated. It was delicious with the flatbread that was cooked in the wood fire oven.

I was so happy and still had a side of tomato rice and yogurt. The meal was so delicious and it cost under seven euros or $10. I was so full from eating that I did not know how I was going to go back to shopping.

Istanbul bar

Later that evening, I met up with friends to take advantage of the one overnight stop. We decided to hit the strip in Istanbul and get our dancing shoes on. We went into a bar and ordered drinks. I was so excited when it came with a plate of nibbles. The apples were so crisp and flavourful that I could not believe it. The popcorn was so addicting and only made me thirstier. I have to say, the fruit platter was a nice touch and surprisingly went perfectly with beer at the end of a hot day.

baked potato Istanbul

After a night of dancing I had worked up another appetite. I figured that my usual pizza or poutine was out of the question and was on a search for a vegetarian option. The only thing that I found was a baked potato. I topped it up with all kinds of ingredients like beets, olives, pickles, corn and sour cream. It ended up being the best baked potato that I’ve ever had in my life. When I tell people about that night in Istanbul, it always ends with the story about the baked potato.

Greek island food

October 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

greek wrap

After a couple days with my friends in Rome, I hoped on a cruise that sailed through the Mediterranean. Our first stop was in Santorini, Greece, the idyllic island with the famous blue domed churches. We climbed a staircase for about 20 minutes in the hot sun and had to dodge donkeys on the way. The view from the top was spectacular and perfect for a honeymooning couple.

We walked around the island and when hunger struck, I tried to find a falafel. For some reason, every donair shop was out so I just got a plain vegetable wrap. The pita was warm, chewy and soft and the vegetables were crisp and refreshing. The tahini and tzatziki sauce were tasty on the fries.

Lily in Santorini

A few days later we stopped on the famous party island of Mykonos. We found a nice restaurant in the village near the pier and enjoyed a feast. I ordered a few items that I had never tried before and was very excited for the authentic meal. We got a delicious beet salad with yogurt and dill that was creamy but very light.

The next appetizer that I tried was the zucchini fritters. They were in a thick batter and a bit chewy with a crunchy exterior. They were much heavier than the beet salad. One of my favourites was the fried feta which came with onions, peppers and zucchini fried in with the cheese which we ate on bread. Wow, it was amazing. The cheese thickened a bit and was slightly stringy and the flavours of the veggies were infused into the cheese.

mykonos meal

The last item that we ordered was a big flop. We ordered a strong cheese which came on top of bread with slices of tomatoes and tzatziki on the side. We all found the cheese unbearably overpowering and let it be. The cheese was so strong that I could not even get the taste out of my mouth the next day. I had an amazing time in Greece and have always loved their food. I can’t wait to find these new recipes.

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