ON THE SIDE: RANDOM PHOTOS #1

Sometimes I have photos that I don’t know what to do with them (as far as this blog is concerned), so these will fit in the “random photos” category.  Here are the first five:

Landmark on Wheels
Arguably the most recognizable car in Vancouver

Mother's Worry
A cool cartoon painted on a vintage car

Snowed Out Bike
From my last visit back home in Montreal, in 2008

Lions Gate Bridge #1
Vancouver’s Lions’ Gate bridge at night, as seen from Stanley Park’s Seawall

Double Belgian Chocolate Truffle Fudge Cake
A mouth-watering dessert at “Seasons in the Park”, in Queen Elizabeth Park

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PRESTO!

UPDATE 2011-03-01: the restaurant has been closed… Bummer.

We have been going to Cafe Presto Panini 3-4 times now and the experience has been consistently rewarding.

A must have on our list is the excellent Roman Salad.  Its thick slices of prosciutto generously cover the organic greens which are mixed with some fresh and tasty tomato bits along with parmesan (did I detect a hint of Dijon mustard in there?) and balsamic dressing.

We have also tried a few of the paninis and, so far, our favorite is the Chicken Avocado.  The panino almost feels like it melts in your mouth — in a “non-mushy” way, of course ;) — as the tender chicken, avocado, tomato sauce and mozzarella make their way to your taste buds.

The cafe is small, but its following seems strong indeed as one could notice the chef merrily chatting with what seemed to be regulars on 3 occasions (out of 5 occupied tables — good ratio!), as they entered.  It’s always a good sign when you see people coming back for more.  I think they can count us in as regulars now, too. :)

In a nutshell:

Name Cafe Presto Panini
Address 859 Hornby St., Vancouver
Phone 604-684-4445
Food *****
Service Friendly.
Ambiance Simple. Homy.
Price Most dishes hover around $10 each.

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Directions:

ENJOYING THE SUNSET AT ENGLISH BAY

Solar Clock at Sunset

Sunsets at English Bay are spectacular!!! The best way to experience the sunset, in my opinion, is over a romantic dinner in one of the few waterfront restaurants near the corner of Denman St. and Beach Av.  If you’re on a budget, picnicking alongside the sandy beach works too. And if that doesn’t inspire you, Denman St. has tons of dining opportunities for you to choose from — take your pick. ;)

Silhouettes

Inukshuk at Sunset

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Directions:

GRANVILLE ISLAND

Taiko Drummers
Taiko drummers

Granville Island is a great place to “chill”…  [More on this great attraction at a later time…].

 

Shoot me! Shoot me!
The playground area offers lots of fun for kids

Mini-Venice
I call this area of Granville Island “Mini-Venice”… Cool — but surely expensive — place!

Directions:

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MY FAVORITE SUSHI RESTAURANTS

Please note that this post will always evolve as I try more and more sushi places. Come back every so often to see which new spots made “my” cut. I Hope you agree, and please don’t complain if my tastes are not like yours. ;)

I love sushi and, many of my friends being foodies themselves, I’ve had the chance to try quite a few different sushi restaurants so far. Here then are my picks by category:

CATEGORY WHERE COMMENT
Best
Salmon Sashimi
Gyoza King* 1508 Robson St.
Vancouver
604-669-8278
Actually, the restaurant specifically mentions that it’s a “24-hour sushi-free zone”, but they do serve the tastiest salmon sashimi around (although it is somewhat thin and pricey).  Instantly, as my girlfriend and I tried it for the first time, we both went “MMMMMM!!!!”  Outstanding! :)
Best California Roll Gohan
1815 Rosser Av.
Burnaby
604-205-5212
Gohan’s California Roll is just the right size and the filling is dense and very tasty.  I usually take it as part of their lunch special, which includes a miso soup, California roll (6) or sushi (3), and an entree (chicken teriyaki or some other option) for $7.95.  You might not be “totally” full after this, but it’s not a bad deal anyway.
Best
Spicy Tuna Cone
Richmond Sushi
8388 Capstan Way, #1488
Richmond
604-207-7799
I’m not too keen on tuna, but add some spice to it and I’m in! I was having “all you can eat” sushi and when I tried that spicy tuna cone, it’s like nothing else existed for me! :) Very tasty indeed.  But for those of you who don’t like their food too spicy, you might want to avoid this one (last time I was there, a friend complained it was too spicy).
Best Price Sushi Garden
4635 Kingsway
Burnaby
604-436-0104
The first time I went there, I had their BC Combo — which includes 4 BC rolls, 4 Alaska rolls, and 2 pieces each of tuna and salmon sushi — all for 8$ (plus tax)! And their rolls are quite big. It’s actually a little cumbersome to eat, but hey, I’m all for a cheap bill and a full stomach! :)  The restaurant is often crowded; very popular place, across the street from Metrotown.
Best “All You Can Eat” Richmond Sushi
8388 Capstan Way, #1488
Richmond
604-207-7799
(Be warned that I’ve only tried a handful of AYCE places so far, but right now, this is my pick…  Let me know about your favorite! :) )I like their semi-private booths, the overall quality of the food is decent (and “great” for that spicy tuna cone I just mentioned) and they have a great deal if you don’t mind eating late.  I don’t remember exactly how much it was — it’s been a while since I’ve been there — but I think it’s 14$ after 9:30PM.
Best Overall Samurai Japanese Restaurant
1108 Davie St.
Vancouver
604-609-0078
Very generous sushi portions, great taste, affordable price.  Their salmon sashimi is a close second taste-wise to Gyoza King’s, but the size is so much bigger…  It’s like one piece at Samurai is worth three — nevertheless delicious ones — at Gyoza King.  Their chopped scallops roll is great too, and a bunch of non-sushi related dishes like their gyoza, tempura, and unagi don (cooked eel in a rice bowl).

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to try them all…  Let me know about your favorites too (as long as it doesn’t sound like a shameless plug for a restaurant)!

* I put the official link to Gyoza King’s web site here, but be warned that as of this writing, it seems to be in Japanese only.

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CANADA DAY 2008

Better late than never…  Enjoy some pics from Canada Day earlier this year.

HMCS Winnipeg
HMCS Winnipeg, in the distance

Fire Juggler
Some fun entertainment early in the day

Maple Syrup Taffy Lineup
I was actually up a few stairs in this long lineup.  Nice to see people enjoying Quebec’s traditional “tire sur la neige” (or maple syrup taffy in English) so much.

En Français
A French singer at the Quebec 400 stage, in celebration of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary

New Wave
The band “New Wave”, singing covers from the 70s to the 90s

Marion Torres
12 year old Marion Torres.  She had won a singing competition at Canada Place in 2006.  Great voice and great future for her I believe.

54-40 #2
The great Canadian band 54-40 sang all their hits for us — for free! :)

54-40 #3
On the last song, the singer invited people over to the stage to dance…

54-40 #4 - Invading the Stage
It didn’t take long for the crowd to answer the call…

54-40 #5 - Can You Spot the Singer?
This has GOT to be the best finish to a rock concert ever.  The band was totally submerged by the fans!

2008 POWELL STREET FESTIVAL

I couldn’t stay long enough to see everything that the festival had to offer, but while I was there, it was time well spent at Oppenheimer Park where Japanese Canadian arts, culture, and heritage were being celebrated (click here to read the festival’s official mission). The festival runs until today (Sunday August 3rd).

Japanese Instrument
Traditional Japanese music (can someone tell me the name of this instrument?)

Tug Of War
Different activities are available for children

Beads
Fabulous Japanese glass beads (called “Tombodama”) designed by artist Minori Takagi

Procession?
Forgive my ignorance, I don’t know what this thing represents and what the ceremony was for (anyone?)

Japanese-Style Umbrella
Japanese-style umbrella (what is its official name?)

Taiko Group Pic
Group pic with a cheerful Japanese man

Food Court
Food section

Rock & Roll
Punk Rock band Riff Randells (in English)