Shizenya: Healthy Japanese Lunch

After consuming a hefty amount of unhealthy foods during midterms, I decided to get something healthier for lunch last week after class. I was in the mood for Japanese, so I settled upon Shizenya. I’ve been to their downtown location before, but this time I visited the Fairview location. I really like their offerings; there aren’t many Japanese restaurants that offer a full menu of healthier Japanese options. Check our their menu here. What intrigued me the most is their whole wheat tempura because I’ve never seen any other place offer that.

I decided to get takeout as I was not in the mood to dine alone…

I ordered off their lunch special combo menu and got the beef teriyaki combojuicy and tender sukiyaki beef with teriyaki sauce, organic brown rice, spinach gomaae and organic salad ($8.95).

Even though I got takeout and waited at least 20 minutes to eat it, the beef was surprisingly still very tender. The sauce wasn’t overly sweet or salty and went well with the perfectly cooked brown rice. I thought this was a good portion for lunch and for just under $10, the price isn’t too bad either, considering healthier meal options  (look at Whole Foods) generally cost more.

Overall, Shinzenya is a good place to grab some healthier Japanese food. Some of the menu offerings are pricier than the average Japanese restaurant, but given that many of their dishes use organic ingredients and brown rice, it’s expected.

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Five Elements Cafe: Delicious Vietnamese and Thai Food

Even though I don’t live very far from Commercial Drive, I don’t frequent the area much despite the amount of restaurants located there. After visiting the Farmer’s market on a rainy Saturday, Es S and I passed by Five Elements Cafe. It had a “grand opening 10% off” banner and had the words Vietnamese submarines, gelato, frozen yogurt and coffee written on the window. Interesting mix of cuisines, but I was intrigued so we went inside to check it out.

Click for larger image 🙂

Five Elements Cafe carries an array of foods; they have vietnamese dishes such as pho and subs, Thai dishes, caffeinated beverages, tea, gelato and frozen yogurt. You can click on the picture for a bigger version of the menu. Price wise, most of the dishes are under $10 other than the sizzling plates. They have a display of their selection of teas for you to smell, which I thought was a nice touch.

You pay and order at the counter,tell the cashier where you are going to sit and the food is brought to you. Water is self serve and they have a cutlery and condiment station in the back. The interior was clean and bright and I liked the exposed brick walls.

Here’s what we ate:

Es S started with a papaya coleslawshrimp or tofu, vinaigrette and herbs. Along with shredded papaya, the coleslaw included shredded carrots, basil, chopped peanuts and topped off with fried onions. We thought that the coleslaw lacked tartness and needed more fish sauce. It wasn’t bad, it was quite refreshing but it needed some more flavour.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2013: Catch 122

Last year I didn’t have time to try any restaurants for Dine Out, so I was happy that I was able to try at least one restaurant this year. Since I was going with Es S and M,  Es S choose which restaurant to go to and she chose Catch 122 in Gastown. I’m glad she chose Catch 122 because I had a great experience.  I’m feeling lazy, therefore I’m going to do this review in point form.

The lighting inside was quite dim, with candle light being the main lighting. Not very practical for food pictures but good for intimate dates (if that’s what you’re looking for haha).

We started off with some bread, which Es S ended up using with her appetizer.

We chose one of each of the appetizers:

Prawn bisque with seared scallop:

  • least favourite appetizer
  • found it a bit bland, but later found out that all the salt was at the bottom, which made the broth really salty
  • not as creamy or rich, a bit thin

Duck Confit raviolihouse-made duck confit ravioli, ricotta, sage butter

  • good amount of filling and nice flavours
  • Es S thought the skin tasted like a Chinese dumpling skin

Avocado Tequila Sorbet, Salmon Tartarehouse-made avocado Tequila sorbet

  • refreshing tequila sorbet
  • melt-in-your-mouth salmon

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Whet: Kitchen. Bar. Patio

One of my blogging resolutions for 2013 is to post all the restaurant reviews I have backed up on my computer from last year. With my resolution aside, last summer, my dad and I biked from False Creek to Granville Island and it was very relaxing. As we arrived at Granville Island, we were feeling hungry so we decided to try out Whet because it has been on our “to try” list of restaurants in Granville Island.

We arrived during brunch and decided to sit on the patio, the view was nice although I didn’t take any pictures of it. Here is what we got:

I started off with the tomato saffron seafood chowderpotato, bacon, fresh seafood, fresh herbs, creme fraiche ($6). The portion was bigger than I had anticipated and it was filled with a good amount of fresh seafood. The bacon added a salty flavour to the chowder but unlike the name, I didn’t detect much tomato or saffron in the chowder. Overall I enjoyed the chowder.

My dad ordered the bacon cheddar omelette alderwood smoked bacon, aged white cheddar, mushrooms, shallots, red jacket hashbrowns and fresh fruit ($14). I only took a bite of his potatoes and they were nicely seasoned and as for the omelette, my dad said he enjoyed it. From the appearance of the omelette, it looked nicely cooked.

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Roundel Cafe

Roundel Cafe has been on my radar for a while now. Like many of the restaurants on Hastings, I don’t live too far from Roundel Cafe but yet it has taken me so long to try it. Es S and I went on a Saturday afternoon and the place wasn’t too busy, mainly because there was a 30 minute lineup at The Red Wagon.

Es S went for one of their specials, diabla shrimp benny with provolone & holloandaise sauce with toasted potatoes and salad. Es S said she enjoyed the benny.

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