Irish Heather

Woohoo!!! Mr. ESL is getting married!!! To commemorate his last days as a bachelor Ms. Awkward Diner organized a fantastical and super fun stag for him. It all started with dinner at The Irish Heather. Or was it the Salty Tongue??  I say this because although we had reservations at The Irish Heather, we were seated in a communal table at the latter, and the restaurants were side-by-side.

Both restaurants are really just one long corridor each, but I guess that’s true with most Gastown establishments.

On to the food!

Irish Heather: Steak and Ale Pot Pie

I had the Steak & Ale Pot Pie ($16.75) which came with choice of fries, masoed (mashed?) potato or Kale Caesar salad.  I picked the kale caesar as it sounded interesting.

Their pot pies came in a vegan version also and they differentiate them with either a doggy or an acorn!!!  Aren’t they darling???

Both pot pies were huge.  The meat version came with au jus and there was a lot of filling.  Upon cutting into it gravy came pouring out to mix with the jus so it basically was one big delicious mess.  The steak pieces were tender enough and were mixed in with chunks of celery and carrots.  My only gripe was that the crust wasn’t cooked through: the top was cooked while the inner layer was pretty gummy and doughy.

Irish Heather: Kale Caesar

The Kale Caesar ($8 for a small) was absolutely delicious.  I always thought that kale would be too tough to eat raw in a salad, so I’ve always just made kale chips.  But the kale here was cut into a chiffonade so it was tender and easy to chew.  There was just enough dressing to cover everything without being overly rich and satiating.  I finished this over the pie.

After having this I was even inspired to make my own kale salad at home!

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Chefe Daniel – Flavours of Portugal

Chefe Daniel Restaurant Flavours of Portugal

We had made a mental note to stop by this neat looking little Portuguese place on Kingsway after seeing it while driving through the neighborhood.  There was no info about it online when we checked so we figured it must be new (apparently it’s been there for a while under a different name before being renovated: Cinco Estrelas), and it stood out to us in the sea of Vietnamese restaurants in that area.  So tonight we took the plunge…

On the walk up to the restaurant we noticed a couple interesting pieces of machinery, and decided to snap pics even though we had no idea what they are…portable ovens of some sort?  To be hauled around on a food cart or something?  I still don’t know, but the flames coming out of the red one look pretty cool eh?

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Myeongdong, Seoul Street Eats – Part 1

In my previous post, I commented on how we didn’t get to eat everything we wanted to eat…that’s because there’s quite a bit of street eats that takes away our stomach space…whether it’s on the street, a little shop, in the subway station…there’s always something that catches our…well….mostly my eyes….

Myeongdong, Seoul

Myeongdong, Seoul

Myeongdong is such a busy and vibrant area at night.  There’s so many lights and so many shops jam-packed.  On the first night, we had planned on finding me Mister Donut to satisfy my mochi-donut craving…which I haven’t had since I first tried it in Japan 2 years ago.  Sadly, the tour book was misguiding, as the Mister Donut listed in it is no longer in business.  So in my disappointment…I looked for other rice-cakey things to eat.

Lotteria Myeongdong, Seoul: Red bean soup with rice balls

We happened to walk by a Lotteria burger joint.  One look at their products and you’ll see that they’re a complete rip-off of McDonalds…from the cups to the burgers…even their spoon for their McFlurry-ish treat is exactly the same as a McFlurry spoon.

Anyways on their window was a poster for what seems to be a Red bean soup with rice balls (4,900W).  Of course I was sold on that.

It took forever for it to be ready…probably because no one else really orders it lol just tourists.  The soupy part was not bad actually…not overly sweet and I actually detect a hint of saltiness.  There were an assortment of seeds and nuts and beans in it too, topped with sliced almonds and a (generous) sprinkling of cinnamon.

The disappointing part was the rice balls…pretty mushy and not very chewy.  Oh well.

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I’ve been wanting to try Maenam for a while now since I’m a big fan of all things Thai and was curious about trying Thai food with a gourmet twist, which is exactly what Maenam offers.  The first thing I noticed was the warm, inviting atmosphere, made apparent through use of light and colour.  I really dug their tabletops as well 😛 (see pics).  We had made reservations for the Chef’s Royal Thai Dinner ($47.50/person) in advance, a 3-course, 9-dish tasting menu of on- and off-menu selections which changes occasionally.  I’m not sure how often, but this one had started just that week.

satay gai, pork rinds, tempura fern, nahm jim, and crispy fried oysters at Maenam

First up was an appetizer platter featuring free range chicken satays (satay gai), tempura made with some thin type of fern, crispy fried oysters (hoi tort), prawn cakes and a couple pork rinds and cucumber wedges.  The sauces included standard homemade peanut, a red chili one, some watery cucumber relish and my personal favourite: the house sauce, nahm jim.  It embodied all of the Thai taste senses: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter (spicy).  Each bite made me forget my surroundings a little at a time, daydreaming of bustling Bangkok streets teeming with the pungent aromas of various mobile food carts.

The oysters were the highlight for me, and the nahm jim worked perfectly with them.  The fern dish was very bland although an interesting idea, and the chicken was just your usual Thai streetfood variety, but were on the dry side.  The pork rinds seemed out of place and had some inedible-y chewy hard bits in them.  But everything tasted good enough when dipped in the nahm jim I suppose.

Maenam: Thai and Ginger

For drinks Wendy ordered a virgin Thai and Ginger which consisted of passionfruit and cassia bark topped with gingerbeer.  She was expecting a bit more kick from the gingerbeer than what was delivered but still enjoyed the drink.  I ordered a pot of lemon ginger tea.  I found it a bit mild as well, but pleasant enough.

Maenam: Mussels

The next course consisted of soup, salad and mussels.  Wendy regrettably forgot to take photos of the soup which is unfortunate since for me it was one of the high points.  It was a hot and sour (tom yum) ling cod soup w/ Thai basil and oyster mushroom.  Needless to say it was tom yummy!  I think I enjoyed it a bit more than Wendy since she didn’t finish hers.  I did notice the absence of any big chunks of ginger or lemongrass which I normally like in this type of soup though. But I guess that’s kind of the point here, this ain’t your traditional Thai food.

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Laziza Modern Mediterranean – A Tasting Event

I was fortunate enough to be among some fellow bloggers invited to a tasting event held by a new-ish Mediterranean restaurant on Davie – Laziza.

Just to give a bit of background on the restaurant, according to the press release, the menu is inspired by the regional classics from Lebanon, Morocco, Greece and Italy, but with a twist of course.  They also seem to use quality ingredients as free-range, hormone-free tenderloin beef, chicken and lamb, and many organic ingredients (but don’t mistake that as the whole dish being organic though…just certain components).

Now after reading that I would think their prices would be pretty up there, but if you take a look at their menu you’ll realize they’re not.  Now does that mean the quality and taste of the food are not up to par?  I’ll soon find out.

Laziza Modern Mediterranean

Laziza Modern Mediterranean

Laziza Modern Mediterranean

As you can see the decor is definitely modern.  It certainly had touches of the Mediterranean with its blue and brown/tan theme.  It was very welcoming and inviting.  It didn’t hurt that it was such a sunny day either~

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