Rodney’s Oyster House (September 30, 2012)

Hi guys, A here. Time to get things rolling with a fresh post. It’s midterm season again at UBC (and also rain season, evidently) and therefore our blog entries will be a bit sparse for the time being..then you’ll expect a more regular interval between posts..until December, that is (students UNDERSTAND).

So, anyone who knows my food preferences knows that I love oysters, and especially raw ones. So why not pay a visit to allegedly one of the best places in town to get ’em, at Rodney’s Oyster House, nestled in the heart of Yaletown. Special thanks to M, J and V (who has quite a lovely blog here, for those who like anime) for trying this place out with me. S was enjoying some fine Greek food at Felicos, which can be read about here. I had some pretty high expectations going to this place, and the overall ambience of the place suggested a rustic fisherman’s port stop feel, although the quality of the food top to bottom is anything but rustic.

Complimentary bread with butter – B

They didn’t bother being adventurous with it, and that was fine with me. I wasn’t here for the bread anyway ;).

Assorted raw oysters with an accompaniment of assorted hot sauces,  vodka pepper oil, and Worcestershire sauce ($2.50-3.50 per oyster) – A

Since we were new to this place and hadn’t perused the daily catch board, we asked the waiter to give us a healthy mix of oysters from the BC/Washington area, so he gave us equal amounts of Royal Miyagi, Kishimoto, and another kind that I cannot remember! They were all rather wonderful and can even rival Joe Forte’s in terms of freshness and accompaniments to go along with these beauties. Even if raw oysters aren’t your thing, one can appreciate the effort from shucking to presentation.

Crab cakes with arugula greens ($16.95) – A

Easily one of the best crab cakes I’ve tasted. Not overly greasy, lightly browned and crispy, and hardly any filler. It was pure crabby goodness. Usually for crab cakes you get that fullness from all the grain that they stuff in there to make the cake big, but this just left me wanting more. The salad wasn’t sloppily done either, it had a nice light olive oil dressing that was subtly sour that counteracted any heaviness on part of the crab cakes.

Garlic shrimp in bisque (left, $15.95) – A+, Pan-fried oysters (right foreground, $16.95) – C

You’re probably thinking that’s a bit excessive for shrimp. However, this bisque left us wondering what was it that made it go so well with the shrimp’s flavours. There was a hint of vodka, combined with tomato and cream that reminded me of a heavy pasta, but it didn’t sit like a creamy sauce, and rather tasted like a drizzle sauce on top. I’ve never had shrimp done EXACTLY this way, and I know I’ll be coming back for this dish. On the other hand, the fried oysters were not spectacular. In direct contrast with the crab cakes, I found the batter to be excessive and the oil to be a bit old. I’ll stick to raw oysters.

Scallop Galette with arugula greens ($16.95) – B

The third fried dish we had that night was a nice take on scallops, which I’m used to consuming without batter on top. It was nice and meaty, and not dinky small like most restaurants would give you. The salad was a nice touch, and didn’t feel like it was a filler that interfered with the scallops.

Banana crème brulée ($7.50) – C

Presentation was nice, but I kinda hoped for banana-INFUSED crème brulée, but instead it was simply crème brulée with bananas on top. The sugar was torched nicely, but that was pretty much its one good feature.

Belgian chocolate mousse ($7.50) – B+

I’m a sucker for mousse, and this was easily the better of the two desserts for me. It wasn’t milky chocolate mousse, but of a darker variety which appealed to my tastes. Presentation was quite good as well, but the flavours won me over.

Overall I was quite pleased, as I came for the oysters, and got some high-quality ones. I’ll definitely be back to try other items on their menu (particularly the cold items, we didn’t really dabble in those), so maybe look forward to a future entry on this place sometime ;).

While I’m on the topic of the future, stay tuned for the next series of posts. I recently returned from a weekend in Seattle, and yes, I do have a few food experiences I’d like to share with you all, which revolve around a singular theme: seafood. I think I consumed more seafood in that weekend than I do in a few months, not kidding. Anyway, to close this post off, here’s a picture of the interior from our table, which was on the second floor.


Rodney's Oyster House on Urbanspoon

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Felicos (September 30,2012)

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Hey guys. S here. So yesterday was Chinese Moon Cake Day (I mistakenly thought it was Chinese New Years and said Gung Hay Fat Choy to someone…but awkwardness and lack of Asianess aside…), and as a result, I had a family dinner. My uncle who was treating decided upon Felicos, being sick of both Chinese and Japanese food. I was excited as I had been here before with A’s family and remembered enjoying the food. However, during my last visit, it was the day before a breath test to diagnose for lactose intolerance (which I strongly am…) and as a result could not have anything containing dairy…which meant that I had a green salad LOL. I did also recall that they had excellent mussels in white wine sauce that were dairy-free and a great bang for your buck.

In this case, as my uncle was treating, my mother forbade me from ordering any appies…*sadface*. Anyways, here are a few pics of the place before we delve into the food!

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Enough of that! I know you’re really here for the food so I will not disappoint! Due to the nature of my inadequate/ awkward communication skills with that side of the family (that only speaks Chinese), I only took pictures of my dish as well as my parents.

We were first started off with a basket of warm pita bread served with butter. Mmmmmhmm.

Nothing special; nothing infused. Just normal pita that was nicely warm and soft, No complaints there; though I suspect that it may not be baked in house due to the uniform size of each piece. Nothing good, nothing bad.

My parents and I all ordered “Dinner Features” (originally I was tempted to just get a Chicken Soulvaki plate but my mother said I was too boring…) Anyways, these features all came with your choice of caesar salad, greek salad, or soup of the day (which was chicken and rice that night). I went with the greek salad while both my parents chose caesar (because they’re unhealthy like that).

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From what my parents described, they enjoyed their caesar salad. Its pretty standard and they have pretty low standards for food, not too picky. My greek salad on the other hand had WAY too much feta. In addition, the feta was rather watery and broken up. I prefer my feta in larger chunks. Unlike tradition greek salad only using olive oil, this greek salad had a hint of vinegrette as well which I found a little odd.

Rating: B-

The thing I most enjoy about eating with my mother is that well, she doesn’t eat very much, meaning I get to steal her food! 🙂 Having ordered what I wanted to order, she promised me that I could have some of it..I’ll start by talking abit about my entree of choice. Please bear in mind that the pricing includes the aforementioned salads.

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Wild BC Halibut (Halibut filet topped with a creamy dijon caper sauce, mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables) – [$20.95]

Rating: C+

Not being a fan of the richness of buttery mashed potatoes, I requested to switch to rice…gotta love Greek rice. The waiter was super nice and accommodating…but that was as good as this dish would get. This was by far the worst tasting halibut I have ever tasted. In fact, it did not even taste like halibut! Normally, halibut flakes off very nicely and is very tender; this fish presented as “halibut” was rough and not in the least bit smooth! The saving grace of this dish was the dijon caper sauce. Despite using capers, it was not too salty tasted good with freshly squeezed lemon (which I asked for 2 more…seriously kudos to that waiter). They did seem to skimp a little on the sauce, so I asked the waiter for some more on the side. I was happy with the larger-than-average serving of roasted vegetables on the side. Gotta love them veggies! Definitely was not too happy with this dish…but don’t fret, it gets better from here!

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Rack of Lamb Chops & Skewered Prawns
  (Three tender grilled rack of lamb chops, served with a skewer of black tiger prawns (4), roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and Felicos special lamb mint sauce)[$22.95]

Rating: A-

This was my mom’s dish. Normally, she avoids lamb like the plague due to her dislike of gaminess; however, the Chinese chiropractor she’s been seeing for her joint pains said that eating lamb would be beneficial to her. Seeing as Felicos is a Greek place, what better place to have lamb? Originally I wanted to order this dish….and I wish I did. Anyways, she kindly gave me a prawn and half a lamb rack as well as a bit of her roasted potato. The bit of lamb that I got was definitely not the medium rare that she ordered, it was rather well done, but when she let me try another piece, it was perfectly cooked! Good taste on that, not too gamey, though consistency wasn’t great. The prawn was much too oily/ buttery / salty for my liking. The roasted potato was done very well! With a nicely crispy skin, I think they had some lemon juice on it as it had a nice tang to it…I wish i ordered this…Anyways, moving on..

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AAA Alberta Rib Eye  (10-12 oz. 28 day aged AAA choice cut rib eye, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables)[$23.95]

[Note: There is an option to add a lobster tail for an additional $10.95]

Rating: N/A

My dad’s meal. Of course he’d go for the huge chunk of meat. Being a guy that doesn’t like to share his food, I only got a little sample of his steak. From what I got though, it was very tender and surprisingly delicious for a non-steak house. For such a big portion, this was definitely a good deal for the taste and the cost. He clearly enjoyed it as he quickly polished it off…as usual.

VERDICT:

Felicos is a nice family restaurant with good eats for a decent price. They are accommodating of larger parties as well, with rooms that can be booked for parties and different appetizer platters available. Though I was not altogether satisfied with my entree this time around, I would definitely return and for the portion sizes at the prices, it is very fair.

– Love, S.

Felicos on Urbanspoon

Chili Pepper House (September 21st, 2012)

A source of excellent spicy food indeed. Well, when S and I made this foodblog, we wanted a good variety of eats, not just the “schwwwanky places”, but also dives that don’t seem incredible from the outside, but they are when you dig deeper. Chili Pepper House (they don’t have their own site so I linked it to Urbanspoon) on 3003 Kingsway (at Rupert) has been around for quite a while, and the owner is somehow related to the owners of Green Lettuce, which has a similar menu and style of cooking. From what I understand, the owner of Chili Pepper House was educated in Sweden, lived in India, and has Hakka heritage, so you can expect a diverse array of flavours when you walk in the door. Apart from the fact that they serve pakoras alongside hot and sour soup, or papadums right beside Hakka noodles (a delicious stirfry that comes up not greasy, but akin to a nice yakisoba), they make good food that can rival any better-known “traditional” Chinese restaurant; alas, the kind of cuisine they serve up here which can be found in some parts of Southwest China is underrepresented here in Vancouver, and it’s great that there’s an option out there where people can go to for a new taste.

Hot and sour soup with bamboo shoots, chicken, scallions and coriander ($3.95 sml, $6.75 med, $8.75 lrg) – A-

One of my favourite Chinese soups, it appeals to my taste for spicy foods and also the need for some sourness to put some zing into a meal. The small size can easily feed three people, and it packs a punch.

Black pepper beef with onions ($9.25) – B+

Can’t go wrong with this dish. The beef was adequately tenderized (chemically or mechanically is anyone’s guess…it didn’t taste like it was chemical!), and the onions lent a bit of sweetness to round out the flavour. Hint: this dish is GREAT if you pack some up for home and put it into stir frys or soupy noodles. Yum!

Singapore-style Vermicelli with chicken and shrimp ($8.95) – A

It’s got noodles. It’s got tumeric. It’s got a nice balance of chicken, shrimp and veggies. I think it’s all set. You don’t seem to notice the food dipping in volume because the portion is just so huge, but I bet you wouldn’t even mind…

Haaji Fish ($12.25) – A

I think this would be the representative of the unique Chinese-Indian flavour of this place. It clearly had a curry and tumeric tinge to it, and it was sprinkled very liberally with chili flakes. Lightly deepfried until golden, it balances the fishy flavour of the cod with a flavour that isn’t quite Indian, but also isn’t quite Szechuanese/Yunnanese… it’s in a league of its own.

If you’re wanting a good hidden place to try next time you’re looking for a change-up in flavours, head on down here. The dishes I’ve shown here are the tip of the iceberg, as the selection won’t leave anyone disappointed. Again, this would be a “dive” so don’t expect Michelin star quality presentation or ambience for a first date, but do expect solid results. This place never fails to deliver on that.

– Cheers, A

Chili Pepper House 嘉應閣 (Vancouver) on Urbanspoon

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