Evening catch up with friends @ The Burrow

Finally had a catch up this past Friday with Kee Ping, Amanda and Xuan at The Burrow.

With a great drinks menu and nice atmosphere, The Burrow was an easy choice and luckily we could make reservations so didn’t have to wait in line for a table.

IMG_5513

Beers for everyone! And of course, food. We got a few dishes to share:

Unfortunately, some of these dishes are part of their Oktoberfest menu which isn’t online so I can’t give you the full dish name and all its components.

Pretzels with Pepe Saya butter. I love Pepe Saya butter but the pretzels were unfortunately quite tough and definitely not worth $7/each.

IMG_5519

Main component of this dish was the crispy pork belly, which was lovely! Also had roasted peaches and something-I-can’t remember wrapped in filo pastry. Tasty dish!

IMG_5516

Dip-ah-dee-do-dah – A selection of fresh house dips, crisp bread, ciabatta, zattar and flavoured oils. The selection was different than what Mike and I have had before but still very tasty! Very generous portions of dips, and so would do with a bit more breads!

IMG_5518

IMG_5514

This dish’s main component was slow cooked venison with spรคtzle, apple and berries. When we asked what spรคtzle was, our server said her best description would be “similar to gnocchi”. Unfortunately, although the venison was tender and nice, the spรคtzle (that we were all trying for the first time) tasted more like stale deep fried batter. We’re still unsure if it was meant to taste that way, or if we just got a bad batch… And why make the pieces so tiny? So difficult to eat when they just roll around on your fork and then onto the table.

IMG_5520

We also got some Gnarly fries (curly fries) and Chips Ahoy! (beer battered fries) with aioli sauce. On a good note, the fries never disappoint.

IMG_5521

IMG_5515

We’ve been to The Burrow many times and love the service, drinks selection and quality of food. Unfortunately, we found our food hit and miss tonight but will still be back again in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

The Burrow on Urbanspoon

Breakfast Date @ Gunshop Cafe

After a lovely breakfast with Fiona, Kristen and Christine at Gunshop Cafe a number of weeks back, I promised that I would take Michael on my return ๐Ÿ™‚

Earlier this year, we had dinner at the Gunshop Cafe with Mike’s sister, Meaghan, that ended as a so-so experience. Because they are well known for breakfast, we vowed to come back and try and we both finally did!

IMG_5345

Friendly, attentive service and delicious food!

Mike tried the Tasmanian smoked salmon, poached eggs, traditional kettle boiled bagel, hollandaise with greens – $18.50. What a treat to have a bagel again since being in Canada! Delicious and very satisfying!

IMG_5342

A pleased customer!

IMG_5344

I struggled with choosing between either a sweet or savoury dish, our server convinced to go sweet and decadent and I did not regret! Canadian brioche French toast, double smoked bacon, caramelised banana, candied pecans, maple syrup – $18.50. Uh-mazing. Fluffy brioche drowned in maple syrup and pecans… I love pecans! The crispy bacon really did the trick, whole combination was so tasty!

IMG_5340

Good to the last bite!

IMG_5347

We had a great time and even got some studying and discussion done. Having breakfast at the Gunshop Cafe is definitely a treat (read: expensive!) and we look forward to visiting again soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5346

Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

50% off Korean BBQ dinner @ Hong Depot

An opportunity through Dimmi for 50% off food (not including drinks or desserts) at Hong Depot, a Korean BBQ restaurant in West End. With an 82% rating on Urbanspoon and being somewhere we’ve never tried before – how could we resist?

Xuan, Mike and I had reservations for 5:30pm but showed up a bit early due to the timing of buses. No problems though! We were invited to our table and ordered drinks to start while waiting for the kitchen to open. The boys enjoyed Heineken beer while I got a glass of Black Raspberry Wine – sweet but so tasty!

IMG_5233

The restaurant is quirky but homey, does that make sense?

IMG_5226

IMG_5228

Check out the plastic gloves filled with water, hanging all over the restaurant. Nope… still haven’t been able to figure it out ๐Ÿ˜›

IMG_5225

We were soon ready to place our order and eagerly awaiting our food.

IMG_5229

As with many Korean restaurants, there are always free unlimited refills of side dishes. The ones offered at Hong Depot were sliced fish cake, kim chi, and seaweed salad. All were very good! Never had seaweed salad as a slaw before but the crunchy texture really makes it!

IMG_5236

The dishes soon started flowing out at a very good pace. First dish, Rice Balls ($7 for 4 pcs – mixed with rice, yellow radish, seaweed, sesame and mayo) – very good! I especially liked the added texture of the red rice.

IMG_5235

Mandu ($9 for 8 pcs)! Korean dumplings with vegetable filling.

IMG_5238

Large Kimchi Pancake ($16). Crispy, filled with nice and spicy kimchi.

IMG_5242

When we finished our tapas, the staff set up fiery coals to barbecue our meats…

IMG_5244

Rice with dipping sauces

IMG_5239

IMG_5240

We got 4 servings of meat, each 200g: Beef Galbi ($21 – marinated short beef rib), Spicy Beef Bulgogi ($18.80 – marinated thin slices of prime beef), Spicy Pork Bulgogi ($19.50 – marinated thin slices of prime pork) and Jumuluck ($21 – marinated boneless short beef rib). All of the meats were tender and well marinated.

IMG_5247

IMG_5249

IMG_5250

Loved being able to BBQ the meat to our liking and thank goodness for the table suction fan. Otherwise, we’d be reeking of BBQ on the way home!

IMG_5255

IMG_5253

IMG_5246

And even though we were getting full, ice cream was just too tempting. Xuan and Mike each got a scoop of Green Tea and I got Black Sesame ($6 each) – creamy and delicious! A very generous portion as well, no complaints!

IMG_5257

IMG_5258

With the 50% discount, our bill for 3 people came to approximately $105 – great value! The dinner was great and everything was delicious ๐Ÿ™‚ The staff were also extremely friendly and accommodating, despite the restaurant being very busy later in the evening. We left extremely satisfied but would be hesitant to return soon because at regular price, the food is quite pricey for the portion size. Would definitely recommend trying at least once though!

IMG_5260

IMG_5261

Hong Depot on Urbanspoon

Finally trying out Gunshop Cafe

We’ve heard from numerous friends that Gunshop Cafe is a wonderful place, especially for breakfast and we’ve been meaning to try it out for 2 years now.

IMG_4219

Coincidentally during Meaghan’s stay, there was a 50% off flash deal for Gunshop Cafe! Unfortunately, we couldn’t do breakfast or lunch because of our clinic schedules but anticipated a good dinner.

We were booked for 6:15pm on April 02. The restaurant was still quite empty when we arrived so we were given our choice of seats. We initially sat outdoors towards the back of the restaurant but the lighting was quite dim so we ended up changing our minds and moving inside.

IMG_4208

IMG_4210

The restaurant is small but warm and inviting. Although the decor is minimal, it works well and makes bold statements. I especially liked the fan outdoors and how the ceiling lights cast dancing shadows upon the entire restaurant.

IMG_4215

It took us a while to make up our minds on what to order because everything on the menu looked really good.

We settled on drinks first, which was my first disappointment. It was a hot day so I asked for my tea to be iced rather than served hot – never been a problem at other restaurants in the past. Unfortunately, I ended up with lukewarm and extremely diluted tea.

IMG_4213

We started off with the $50 shared plate. I can’t remember all the items, but this plate included: goat cheese stuffed green olives, sorpressa, black pudding, marinated lamb cutlets with romesco sauce, Western Australian sardines. All shared plates also came with olive oil, dukkah, evoo+balsamic, charred sourdough.

IMG_4216

Overall, the plate was really good. Lamb was cooked perfectly and the romesco was delicious. The black pudding was heavily spiced and extremely tasty. The added pickles and mustard were good accompaniments. There were way too many olives as they are really salty and you can only have so many. Meaghan and I aren’t fans of sardines but Mike really enjoyed them.

IMG_4217

But the sourdough wasn’t charred, only lightly toasted which was unfortunate because the added flavour would’ve been really nice. The other disappointment – as we were almost finished the dish, we realized the dukkah and evoo+balsamic was never brought out. A big no no for us – always serve what you say!

IMG_4218 IMG_4220

We then moved onto our mains.

Meaghan had the confit duck leg with du puy lentils, potato fondant, roast tamarillo and heirloom carrots. Duck was WAY TOO salty and extremely tough and dried out – unexpected for meat that was supposed to be cooked long and slow in its own fat. Unfortunately, she ended up leaving a lot of it behind.

IMG_4221

Mike had the homemade gnocchi with tomato fondue, evoo, prawns and basil. He enjoyed it, although not very memorable.

IMG_4223

Lastly, I had the wild mushroom risotto with poached duck egg, truffle oil and cress. Oh my goodness, my dish was unbelievably bland. There was absolutely no salt in my dish and we joked that the salt that was supposed to go into my dish must’ve been put into Meaghan’s. Risotto was overdone and the taste of vinegar overpowered my poached egg ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Please use less vinegar! When asked how our meals were, I did let the staff know that there was absolutely no salt in my dish, although it went went unacknowledged. I didn’t send back my food because I hate doing that – makes me feel like a total snob but this dish would’ve been justified. Instead, I just added some salt and ate what I could, was already filling up from the shared plate anyway!

IMG_4222

The other thing I didn’t like, which I’ve mentioned before about other restaurants – random salads. Don’t get me wrong, watercress is one of my favourite greens, but when it happens to be placed on all 3 dishes, I think it’s there for decoration and not for flavour. It also makes the dishes look less appealing.

IMG_4224

Dinner started on a high and ended on a low for us, which is too bad. Thankfully we weren’t paying full price because that definitely wouldn’t have been worth it. However, we aren’t giving up on the Gunshop Cafe just yet. The service and ambiance were great, so we will definitely give it another chance – breakfast next time though!

Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

A wonderful Friday surprise

Last Friday (October 19), Mike and I decided to have lunch at The Coffee Club in West End after PBL. We had bought a voucher that was expiring within a few days – $25 for 2 breakfasts or lunches and 2 glasses of wine/juice, so had to use it!

After a delicious lunch, we did what we usually do when we go out for food: hang around for a few hours and study. During that time, I got a message from Joseph saying “OSCE marks are out!”

I told Michael excitedly and then with trembling hands and a pounding heart, we logged onto Blackboard to check our scores. I don’t know If you remember, but a few weeks ago I wrote a blog after the OSCEs detailing my experiences and the fear that I may have failed.

I held my breath and loaded the page:

Yay! I passed! Michael was slower and was even more nervous to load his page, but he passed too! Yay us!

I was unbelievably happy. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Michael and I booked our flights back to Ottawa for the second week after final exams in case we’d have to redo the exam but now we can have a real holiday in Australia before going home instead!

Headed out after studying and stopped in Bent Books – sooo many books! Loved it!

Three Monkeys Coffee & Tea House on Urbanspoon

We then decided to stop at Three Monkeys Coffee & Tea House for a slice of celebratory cake. ๐Ÿ˜€ Our friend Lauren introduced this lovely cafe to us last year. Although it has great ambiance, cozy indoor and breezy outdoor seating, their cakes are unfortunately quite average while overpriced. Nevertheless, fun times! And make sure to check out the decor if you stop by! All the different “See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil” monkeys really gives the cafe its name!

Kimono on Urbanspoon

Decided to call it a day and head home. But during the walk back to Cultural Centre bus stop, we passed by Kimono – a sushi train restaurant we’d never seen before. Sushi is our weakness… so we decided we had to give it a try!

We were loudly greeted by the chef as soon as we walked into the door and felt immediately welcomed. A server showed us to our seats and briefly outlined the dinner options, which included an AYCE buffet option! Alas, we weren’t hungry enough for that so we ordered a few rolls instead. They were made on the spot, well priced and all were quite yummy!

When we went to pay, the server commented that we didn’t eat much but we told her we’ll definitely be back!

What an amazingly happy day! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

FADU: Family Adventures Down Under

I’m starting up a new category of blog posts! This one’s called Family Adventures Down Under or FADU for short.

These entries will be written to share the fun times Mike and I have with my mommy (Khanh), my sister (Jenni) and my brother (Andy) as they visit Australia from July 6 to August 21, 2012.

I’m already 2 weeks behind so let’s get started!

July 6, 2012

No pictures! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

My mom and siblings arrived in Brisbane around 1:30pm. Customs was a breeze for them – lucky! We took the taxi home (only $40!) and chilled out the rest of the day catching up and dealing with jet lag. For dinner, I made rice with vegetarian bulgogi (made with firm tofu) and stir fried veggies.

July 7, 2012

Eggs and bruschetta for breakfast – yum! Then off to Davies Park Market in West End to check out the local produce. On the way back, we visited Chinatown where mommy stalked up on Asian necessities to make Bun Rieu – my first food request, haha. Of course, knowing my mom – she also stocked up on enough things to make 3 other dishes. Had sushi, crepes and bubbletea while out and Domino’s Pizza for dinner!

Stole these pictures from my mom’s camera:

Waiting for the bus to the market!

For whatever reason… my mom was super fascinated by this building

Fam pic in front of Chinatown gate

Andy sashaying in public… ๐Ÿ˜›

Now to find room for all the groceries!