Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nitobe Memorial Garden, Cherry Blossom, and Las Margaritas

We went to UBC last Saturday for some errands.

UBC Logo
The weather was a little bit gloomy when we arrived but improved vastly as the day went by.

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Nitobe Garden just opened a few minutes after we arrived and since we had not been there for a long time, we decided to venture in.

Nitobe Memorial Garden entrance
The entrance fee is $6 for adult, all-day and free for UBC students. Sadly, we are no longer scrappy poor students with the "golden" student card roaming free using the university facilities as we pleased.

Nitobe Garden wall
Nitobe is a great place to walk-around especially between classes when you've got nothing else to do and the library is over capacity.

The first exhibit right off the bat from the entrance gate is a Japanese-style house.

There seems to be a strong relationship between UBC and the westcoast Japanese-Canadians.

Alas, we couldn't explore the house any further.

Maybe there's nothing inside?

This small waterfall lead to a big fish pond nearby.

There were stepping stones to go across the shallow stream.

The stream passes under a small bridge ahead, near the bigger Japanese stone pagoda.

The weather continue to improve, creating a stunning view.

Center of Garden.
The big fish pond occupies the center of the garden where a small hut with a wooden bridge lies nearby.

Koi Fish
We saw a big, fat Koi fish. Probably as big as my calf.

Back in the days...
The trip to Nitobe brought back the memory of our days being UBC students. For whatever reason, I feel strongly toward UBC than wife. I love coming back here and occasionally "abuse" my alumni status to borrow awesome books.

Cherry Blossoms

We came to UBC at the right time, we saw plenty of cherry blossoms.

Awesome Weather
Cherry Blossoms
More Cherry Blossoms
... and more
That is the best cherry blossoms covered sidewalk I've ever seen so far this year.

Suddenly, we had to leave UBC since our tummies were grumbling and the little one seemed a little bit antsy, signalling mommy to eat lunch ASAP.

Complicated Parking Payment machine
On our way out, we had to face a very complex parking payment machine. Luckily, we were out in a matter of seconds, not minutes.

Las Margaritas

Last week we had Mexican for lunch. This week, due to the proximity and the urgency, we opted for another Mexican at our regular Mexican restaurant: Las Margaritas.

Las Margaritas has been our go-to Mexican restaurant for a few years due to its location somewhere around Kitsilano, 4th Avenue, and somewhere in our route between UBC and home.

The interior design of Las Margaritas is quite entertaining.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Wife likes the chips and the salsa. They do make a good salsa.

Virgin Margarita
Virgin Margarita, Strawberry mixed with Lime is my all-time favorite. I always and must order this. I secretly wish I knew their recipe to make my own at home. Time to devise a plan to get it from their kitchen.

Deluxe Quesadilla
My order this time around is the Deluxe Quesadilla with grilled Chicken breast. It came with delicious black beans and salad.

Beef Burrito
Wife decided to had her revenge since she didn't get what she wanted last week. Beef Burrito with sauce all over seems to be a great choice after a long walk at UBC in a nice sunny day.

As always, Las Margaritas delivered and we're pleased. Once the bill had been paid, we went home and spent the rest of the day to rest.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spicy Weekend

What a wonderful weekend: perfect weather, long weekend, and lots of food!


We went to Ikea to return an item and on our way back, we were indecisive of what to have for lunch. Initially, we would like to eat Indian buffet but changed our mind because we had some decent size breakfast and were not ready for a buffet, let alone Indian food with lots of rice and flour.

We passed by a Thai restaurant and were toying the idea of eating there since our regular Thai restaurant, Thai House at Metrotown, has closed down indefinitely.

We passed by another restaurant, this time it's a Mexican restaurant. We were thinking of having Mexican as well since it has been a while since the last time we had a proper Mexican food aside the street tacos we got from La Taqueria.

Due to the unappealing exterior appearance of the restaurant, we drove away for a few minutes before I turned back and gave it a try.

Apparently they were having their 13th anniversary (or so the sign said).

Feels like in Mexico: colorful and bright
We had our doubts when we were inside because we were the first diners and it took a while for them to prepare the food. But hey, they say not to judge the book by its cover right?

Wife ordered Chimichanga. She was expecting the Chimichanga to have some sort of sauce.

Beef Burrito
I got the usual Burrito with mild sauce. I should have gotten the extra spicy instead of the mild. Mild doesn't taste spicy enough.

We. Love. The. Refried. Beans. It was so darn good!

Little did we know, this place has a lot of rave reviews even though it was empty when we came there.


We learned that the restaurant really served traditional and original Mexican food. Not the one that has been "adapted" to the local tongue.

Las Margaritas on 4th Ave is our regular Mexican restaurant but unfortunately it is a wee bit too far from our house so we are very grateful that we stumbled upon Ole Ole very close from our place.

Easter Sunday

We started Sunday with a trip to the House of the Man Above and it was jam packed. So packed that they have to open another big room to contain the overflow of people.

After the sermon, we decided to grab our lunch.

We've been blessed. The above sign is absolutely a divine intervention. It makes our life easier when it comes to parking lot: there's always some empty spots close to the entrance.

Nando for lunch to continue the theme of spicy weekend.

We happened to have a coupon for this particular combo: full chicken and 2 side dishes for $18.99 (excl. tax). We requested half of the chicken to be hot (left) and the other half mild (right).

So yummy, we haven't had Nando's for at least 5 years. It's about time!


We haven't bought snacks for a while so we decided to stock up some for the long weekend.

Without us noticing (we did the grocery first before eating out), some of the snacks we bought were hot/spciy.

Both snacks taste a little bit similar.

Sunburst is wife's favorite. Once in a while wouldn't hurt :)

Shrimp Cracker was on sale, $0.79, haven't had this since ages.

I noticed that Quaker is expanding to snacks as well. We decided to give it a try.

Speaking of Takoyaki, the annual Richmond Night Market is about to open soon.

Last but not least, Pringles with less Salt :).

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Cake, a Bread, and a Fiery Dim Sum Manager

Central Station

Had a chance to snap a picture of Central Station when it was not too busy.

We may go back and explore the inside of the building in the future. 

Bread and Cake

Wife is on the roll for 2 weeks straight making bread and cake from leftover.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Bits
She made Banana Bread last week from very ripe bananas.

Somehow we managed to have a break from hunting baby needs thus able to set aside some time.

The next on the menu was Steamed Marble Cake that we made yesterday.

 Helping wife is a blessing in disguise. I find these activities as a stress reliever and I also picked up basic kitchen skills as well.

Steaming the Marble Cake
It was a little bit challenging to scoop out the cake out of the bundt pan despite the extra oil to make it not too sticky

We had to make a small wedge cut and separate the cake into two big portions.

All is well, we have our snacks despite our hard work (by our, I mean my wife's hard work... isn't that right?).

Dim Sum at Po King Restaurant

Wife also had a sudden craving for Dim Sum after church yesterday. Driving around Metrotown to try out new places yielded unsuccessful result, we decided to go to our usual hangout place: Po King Seafood restaurant, which is located right next to Denny's. (Have to admit that we're lucky to live very close to these two restaurants as we can have multi-cultural choices for our breakfast).

Our all-time favorite is the giant Har Gows (Shrimp Dumpling).

Har Gow (Shrimp Dumpling)
Our next all-time favorite is the Chang Fen (Shrimp as well).

Chang Fen
Eating in this particular Dim-Sum restaurant can be a surprising experience for North Americans because in this place, you don't wait to be served: if you want a spoon or an extra napkin or chopsticks, you have to walk to the counter and help yourself. 

Perhaps one of the reasons is because the waitresses are too busy pushing the Dim-Sum carts around and nobody is around to help except the floor manager, who happen to be busy dealing with the table and reservations.

Speaking of the floor manager, check out this funny review from Yelp:

There is a very fiery Dim Sum manager running the place and she yells very loud with lots of passions while holding a wireless phone (a very common scene in the 90's Hong Kong movies) to schedule reservations. Watching her in action made us had to hold our laugh and to continue chewing the shrimp in our mouth at the same time.

Sometimes, if the place is jam packed, you might be asked if you'd like to share the table with another parties or wait for a long time. We learned that this may not be uncommon practice.While others may be offended, we find all of these to be entertaining.

In case people don't get the reviewer's humor, check out the following video: http://youtu.be/uVqBzP0xdKk