Dosanko is a newly opened restaurant in the heart of Vancouver’s Japanese community. Blocks away from a Japanese language school, this restaurant attracts after-school Japanese students, and the area’s industrial lunchtime breakers.
The cooking style is considered yōshoku, a “Japanized” interpretation of Western cooking- per their website. The married-couple owners share their story of the first dish Akiyo cooked for Nathan, and how they decided to share food with the world together.
The space is naturally well-lit by the big windows at the front of the restaurant, and towards the back, the restaurant takes on a family-friendly persona with couches and a kid-friendly area. The dark wood furniture creates a comforting atmosphere with cool hand-drawn art pieces on the walls.
Onto the food:
Dosanko is definitely a Japanese comfort-food stop. Tasty, simple food that hits all of those feels triggering nostalgia about my recent trip to Japan. Whenever I’m missing Japan, I’ll come here!
Check out my very first Bites of Vancouver Dining YouTube Video! Click Here
Named after Executive Chef Curtis “Lips” Demyon, Lips Resto takes classic cuisines and adds their own modern bistro touch. Newly opened, Lips celebrated their grand opening with a bang- a red carpet, free drinks, a DJ and lots of food! I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening on May 31st, 2015 and had a great time with some of my fellow foodie friends.
The management at Lips was also kind enough to invite myself and a guest for a private dining experience, on the house. They were very accommodating even when I had to short-notice cancel my first reservation.
When we arrived, we were greeted warmly by the Maitre D’ and were seated right away. The manager and head chef personally greeted us. They asked if I would like to order dishes off the menu or if I wanted to let the chef send out what he wanted us to try. I chose to let the chef send out his dishes of choice, because I thought it would make it a more interesting dinner. I’m glad I did, because my favourite dish turned out to be the Salmon (which is something I don’t usually order at restaurants).
Overall I had an amazing dining experience. The service was excellent and I appreciated innovation of each dish.
Food Rating: 8.5/10
Would I return? Yes
Many thanks again to Lips Resto, Chef Curtis + the entire team for being so attentive and providing great service and hospitality!
BitesOfVancouver disclaimer: I was invited for dinner by the management at Lips Resto Restaurant. The service may not represent their usual service as Lips was aware of the invitation.
Locations: 1274 Robson Street, Downtown, Vancouver, BC
1545 W. Broadway, Vancouver, BC
450-9100 Blundell Road, Richmond, BC
BitesOfVancouver disclaimer: I was invited to try Chatime’s Robson Location by ChineseBites.com. The service may not represent their usual service as Chatime was aware of the invitation.
With over 1200 locations worldwide, this Taiwan-founded bubble tea company brews their tea leaves in-store. Chatime’s bubble tea is made with precise timing, temperature and proportions. Their drinks are fully customizable, allowing you to choose your tea, toppings, sugar levels and ice levels.
The Top 10 Drinks:
Pearl Milk Tea
Grass Jelly Roasted Milk Tea
Taro Pudding Milk Tea
Brown Rice Green Milk Tea
Taiwan Mango QQ
Matcha Red Bean Milk Tea
Red Bean Pearl Milk Tea
Matcha Tea Latte
Customize your drinks:
o 8 toppings available: pearls, grass jelly, coconut jelly, red bean, coffee jelly, aloe vera, rainbow jelly, pudding.
o Ice level: regular, less, no ice
o Sugar level: extra, regular, less, half, slight, no sugar
Thank you to Raymond of ChineseBites (chinesebites.com) for inviting me to celebrate and enjoy the opening of Chatime!
I tried the Taiwan Mango QQ and the Jasmine Green Tea Mousse.
Even at 50% sugar, I still found the Taiwan Mango too sweet for my liking (although I usually drink my tea and coffee with no sugar). I think I would like it if I had ordered it with “slight” sugar, or perhaps if there was no coconut jelly. It had good mango flavour so I would recommend it to all those mango lovers out there!
I preferred the Jasmine Green Tea Mousse over the Taiwan Mango. I was curious to see what the mousse texture would be like. I think the best way to describe it is when you get regular milky bubble tea and the top is foamy/frothy. More of the Jasmine Green Tea Mousse was foam/froth although it seemed to be more blended and liquid-y at the bottom. 50% sugar level was perfect for me, but I would assume most people would like it with a higher sugar level.
Overall, the bubble tea was good, but I didn’t find it extraordinary. Although they do offer some things I haven’t seen elsewhere (the “mousse” and the ice and sugar levels), I think that their bubble tea is pretty comparable to other popular bubble tea restaurants. I would return, but I wouldn’t make the trip downtown (30-40 minutes for me) for a drink.
June is Nova Scotia month in the Coast to Coast Dining series! To celebrate, Chef Michael Howell offered a collaborative menu with selected wine pairings from Benjamin Bridge, a Nova Scotian winery. This dinner celebration showcased the culinary best of the Atlantic from seafood to wild foraged food.
A special thanks to Meghan at Edible Canada for inviting me to experience and celebrate this part of the Coast to Coast Dinner Series. Also, thank you all of the staff at Edible Canada for the great service and hospitality!
Vancouver Foodster & Dine Out Vancouver Festival teamed up for a series of weekend Brunch Crawls in the different neighbourhoods around Vancouver. These Brunch Crawls take you on a journey visiting 7+ trendy restaurants with a wide variety of different brunch food ranging from classics to modern twists.
The Gastown Brunch Crawl, the first of six Brunch Crawls was a great success. The check-in was at Milano Coffee, one of the Brunch Crawl restaurants for the event. Upon check-in, you are given your ‘passport’ that is required to show to each restaurant as well as a list of the menus you will be served at each restaurant. The passport includes a map of all of the restaurant locations, which are conveniently within walking distance of each other. There is no specific order in which you must visit the restaurants. This allows you to customize your crawl, letting you choose which restaurants you want to try first or which route will minimize your walking.
When starting the crawl, I was a little concerned that I would not be able to make it to all of the restaurants within the four hours you are given (10:00am – 2:00pm.) The four hours proved to be more than enough time, and I was also pleasantly surprised that I did not have to wait for a table any longer than ten minutes at any of the restaurants. In most cases, I was seated immediately.
The restaurants were all well prepared for us Brunch Crawlers. Quickly and efficiently, the food was served timely at each restaurant. Some portions were larger than others, with many of the locations serving more than enough food to collectively put you into a full blown food coma. Prepare your stomachs for the biggest brunch you will ever have!
As a first-time Brunch Crawler, I was unsure of how the Brunch Crawl would pan out. I ended up having an amazing time, delicious food and met some new people along the way. I enjoyed that every stop of the crawl was a unique experience, and was introduced to a variety of restaurants that I may have never tried! It also turns out to be great value for the price! ($40 per person.)
Brunch at Ask For Luigi! Popular, good reviews from many people I’ve spoken to, and always busy. I attempted to go a couple of times earlier in 2014 but didn’t want to have to wait a long time to be seated. I really wanted to try their dinner menu, but one day decided to go for brunch. I went right when it opened, and was luckily seated immediately. The restaurant filled up quite quickly, and had I gone 20 minutes later, I would have had to wait. Smaller than I had imagined, it’s cute and cozy inside. I don’t normally associate pasta with brunch, but I knew that I had to try their pasta! I was curious about their noodle textures and was pleasantly surprised. My noodles were truly al dente, a lot firmer than most places serve their pasta, but I appreciated the fact that they were cooked properly. I’m a pasta connoisseur, but it felt right if that makes any sense. The pasta flavours were also very good. My favourite item was the meatballs, but as you may or may not know, I’ve got a thing for meatballs. The pork belly, although tasty, I felt like I could have done without having it. I will be back for the dinner menu one day!
My long awaited visit to The Acorn was well worth the wait! My first attempt was actually a couple of years ago. My friend and I were walking down Main Street after a long, sweaty gym work-out and were on the hunt for some good, healthy grub. I had never heard of The Acorn before, but was intrigued by the lack of signage and cool looking interior. The hours showed that it was not yet open (it was lunchtime) so we decided we would go back for dinner (attempt #1). Attempt #2, dinner time, I rushed over to The Acorn as soon as I could after work and put my name down for a table. The wait would be over an hour, and my friends and I were too hungry to wait! Attempt #3, drove to The Acorn with full intent to wait for a table but we saw that the line outside went down the street. Attempt #4: see Attempt #3. Attempt #5, I finally smartened up and decided to go right when they opened. My sister and I got there 15 minutes past opening time and the restaurant was already half full! I was seated in a dark corner, and was really looking forward to taking some beautiful food pictures, so I asked if I could move and be seated closer to the window. The server (who I later found out through Instagram was the owner) completely understood and let me choose a different seat. She smiled and told me to make sure I tagged The Acorn!
Onto the food. My sister and I ordered Rosewater Iced Teas, which were refreshing and had that nice hint of rose flavour. For appetizers we ordered the Fried Cauliflower (my favourite) and the Kale Salad. The spices they use in all of their dishes really take the flavours to a whole different level. For entrees my sister had The Harvest, which that day was a Truffle Mac & Cheese, and I had the Zucchini Linguini. Even though we were full, we really wanted to order dessert. We ordered the Plum dessert, which was roasted plums with Thai Basil Panna Cotta and Coconut. Dessert was deeelicious!
Having been to the food cart, I knew that I would love Yolk’s Restaurant. I’d had their breakfast sandwich and loved it! Here, with only a 15 minute wait (I had expected longer) I was seated and served quickly and efficiently despite being a full house. My boyfriend had the Chicken & Waffles, and I chose the Two Poached Eggs with Double Smoked Bacon, Aged White Cheddar, Benedict Style open-faced on an English Muffin with Truffle Lemon Hashbrowns. The chicken was crispy and the waffle was moist and flavourful. The egg sandwich was tasty and the truffle lemon hashbrowns were some of the best hashbrowns I’ve ever had! I personally love truffle, so truffle on anything makes me instantly like it!
Duck breast from
Tryphe Specialty Foods
4495 Dunbar Street, Vancouver
My friend and fellow foodie Instagrammer, head of marketing for Tryphe Specialty Foods, Leila Kwok (@leilalikes on Instagram) asked me one day if I would be interested in making a few dishes with ingredients from Tryphe. Having never done something like this before, I was excited but a bit nervous as well! Coincidentally, the day after Leila asked me to do this, I came home at night to see my mom watching one of her favourite shows- Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. She was cooking duck breast, and I immediately knew that I wanted to try making one too. I had never made pan seared duck breast before, but I wanted a challenge!
I collectively gathered information from YouTube tutorials on how to cook duck breast and gathered plating inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest.
Here’s what I did for the duck (with some slight adjustments):
Using a sharp knife, trim away excess skin from the duck (leaving enough to amply cover the breast). Using a sharp knife, score the skin, first cutting diagonally in one direction, and then the other, in a crosshatch manner. Cut all the way through the skin and most of the fat, but avoid the flesh. Alternatively, you can use a Jaccard tool to pierce the skin. On a small rimmed baking sheet or a plate, place a 1/4 inch layer of salt rough the size of the duck breast. Place duck breast skin-side down on bed of salt. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove and brush off salt with a stiff brush. Line a small rimmed baking sheet or shallow dish with ice cubes and cover with plastic wrap. Place duck breast skin-side down on plastic wrap and weight it with a cheesecloth bundle filled with pie weights or dried beans for 25 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cheesecloth bundle and season flesh side with pepper, and place skin side down, in an unheated 10-inch skillet. Top again with cheesecloth bundle and cook over medium-low heat until a small pool of fat forms in the pan. As fat accumulates, spoon off into a heatproof bowl and reserve for another use; allowing it to cool before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. Continue to cook duck until the skin is nicely browned and crisp, about 25 minutes. Use tongs to turn breast over and top with cheesecloth bundle for 1 minute. Remove bundle and transfer skillet to oven and cook until duck is medium rare, 8 to 12 minutes. It should register 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part. Transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to rest for 5 to 7 minutes. The duck will continue to cook slightly during this time.
Pickled Shallots Shallots, thinly sliced into rings
Red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Yams Duck fat or clarified butter
Yams peeled and cut into 1 inch medallions
Watercress & Pea Shoot Salad Watercress
Apple Cider Vinegar
I haven’t had time to post them yet, but I was also fortunate enough to try some of Tryphe’s baked goods! My favourite was the Apple Cake, which was very moist and perfectly baked!
I used to frequent Cafe Zen quite often, but due to the increase of new brunch spots opening up in the past couple years, I haven’t been in a while. I decided to re-visit today, and decided to finally try a new menu item! I’ve always ordered eggs benedict, but today I decided to try the Mexicano Baked Eggs. Runny poached eggs over avocados, tomatoes, refried beans and rice, covered in cheese and then baked. I ended up liking them more than their eggs benedict, so my lesson of the day is try new things. I know it sounds lame, and predictable classics are easy choices but sometimes you may end up surprising yourself- and find a new favourite!