Insadong Coquitlam & Hmart Bakery

We actually had my birthday dinner the day before my birthday, since Dark Table wasn’t open the day of.  So the day of, we went out for a less planned out but no less extravagant dinner.  But it didn’t start out that way…

At first, Hitman wanted to take me to the rice cake cafe (Midam Rice Cake House) in Coquitlam for dinner and dessert/birthday cake since he knows I love rice cakes.  When we arrived, we quickly realized that the reviews online were right…if you didn’t speak Korean, you are knee-deep in bad stuff.

Hitman asked me to visit the grocery store next door to see if I’m interested in any cakes there, in case I didn’t want anything here.  So I went next door, during which time Hitman, being the sweetheart that he is, actually ordered a piece of cake for me and it was to be a surprise.  He repeatedly instructed the server that it’s “my girlfriend’s birthday, so it has to be a surprise, don’t mention anything.” The server (Server 1)  then got another server (Server 2), who apparently spoke better English, to come over and listen too.  Hitman was sure that everything would be fine, since they had even managed to understand his request for a candle.

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After 5 years… I’ve finally found you! I ♥ u Ho-dduk…

My first encounter with ho-dduk was around 5 or 6 years ago at the Night Market in Richmond. It was by the same clan that now does the hurricane potatoes and fish waffles. They made fish waffles back then too but no hurricane potatoes.

I got one because it was only $1 each and I love anything chewy and rice flour-y and man was I glad I tried one. However, a few years ago the clan stopped making them and I was so disappointed to not be able to have them yearly 😦

Ho-dduk

But this year my luck has changed. On a visit to the Summer Night Market this year, I asked the same stall if they still make sweet rice pancake. They said no, but that a few stalls over did. They also taught us what it’s called. It sounds like “hot dog”.

This particular food stall made their version with lots of nuts.  Too bad we didn’t get a fresh one…It was kept hot on the grill and got more crispy on the outside from that… When it’s piping fresh it should be chewy and soft.  Nonetheless Hitman and I enjoyed it very very much and Hitman especially enjoyed the oozing goodness.  For me probably more so due to the fact I had been longing for it for so long.  But for Hitman, it was his first time.  At first we debated getting two, but him being the health nut he is insisted we share one.  However, one bite into it he basically fought me for it.  But with the expression he made when he had it…it was the cutest thing ever…I had to let him eat more of it.

I was then determined to find out if I could get it anywhere else, so I eventually asked my Korean coworker where I can get this ho-dduk.

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Montana’s Cookhouse

Hitman won a pretty fab prize pack from work (some Safety thing lol) and one of the prizes was a $50 gift card for any restaurant in the Cara network, namely Swiss Chalet, Milestone’s, Montana’s, Kelsey’s, Harvey’s, etc.

He originally wanted to go to Milestones, but the closest one is not close at all…there’s downtown, White Rock, Richmond….now we figured we could go to the Richmond one, but it turns out it’s at the airport AFTER security…so a no go on that either.

So, we ended up deciding on Montana’s.  We wanted ribs!!!

Montana's Cookhouse

The closest one to us would be at Coquitlam Centre.  Still a pretty far drive, but it’s not the usual common fare a la Milestone’s, I was ok with it.

We decided to forgo appies since it was a Reward/Cheat day for us we were going to indulge in dessert anyways…Hitman adorably had a craving for something very, VERY indulgent-chocolatey-fudgey =)

Montana's Cookhouse: Beef Ribs with Southern Baked Beans and Garlic Mash & Gravy, cornbread

We both decided on ribs since that’s what Montana’s seems to be known for.  Since I’ve already called dibs on the pork ribs, Hitman had to settle for the beef ones =P

You get to pick 2 sides and they always come with cornbread.  Hitman picked the Southern Baked Beans and Garlic Mash & Gravy…he says the beans are good with the cornbread.  However to him the cornbread was too sweet and cake-like.  He much prefers the savory version.  You also get a choice of one of their four bbq sauces…he picked Texas Bold.

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East Side Mario’s

Sephora newly opened in Coquitlam and Pacific Centre and Wendy wanted to go.  It is a place where men were to be stranded, surrounded by females whom desires to be more perfect, and searching for the gaze of other stranded men for a feeling of sympathy and understanding.   I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoy the drive to Coquitlam from Richmond.  It is an easy drive when the traffic is good and got me out of town to enjoy my days off.  This time, I planned that we were going to eat there as well.  East Side Mario’s was the destination to be reviewed.  I must apologize for the lighting of our pictures as we did not bring our trusty Fuji F30 camera but had to use the flashless camera from our HTC Dream devices (a great phone that could’ve had a better camera).

The internals of East Side Mario was particular dark but welcoming. The actual lighting of the restaurant was darker than what the photo suggests. It had the “Spaghetti Factory” feel to it but had better food.

We began with a drink.  Wendy ordered the Peach Bellini.  It went down smoothly and delighted our taste buds in doing so.  I did not drink more than few sips because I am a responsible driver (heh!).  I allowed Wendy to be the guinea pig for this concoction.

This Italian Wedding soup had a lot of flavors to it.  Wendy especially liked the tiny round pastas in the soup and the mini meatballs were very cute.  It was not particular salty, the parmesan cheese gratings were added later and it was very satisfactory.  The only thing that would improve it more was the temperature – it could’ve been warmer.

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