Fast Food · Japanese · Restaurants · Sushi · Vancouver/Richmond

Vancouver – Steamworks & The Cambie

L and I were suppose to meet up with N for dinner. Around 3:00 p.m., we walked over to Gastown to kill time. Since this post is going old school, let’s listen to “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus. L informed me that no one likes this song and it is hated by many.

We walked by The Lamplighter. I’ve only been here once before, when I brought L home to meet my family in 2010. He met my SFU buddy J. L, Moody and Cuz were so rowdy, they began purposely breaking glasses. I left early with Beep Beep, and after that night, J never hung out with me again. I asked L what he and his friends did to J. He said nothing and J seemed like he was having a good time.

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Since it was raining, we ducked into Steamworks.  There’s always fruit flies hanging around and the food isn’t good enough for me to eat, but there’s always seats and the location is convenient.

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I had one beer – Sanctuary – a collaboration between Blasted Church + Steamworks ($10, 500 ml, 7.5%). Blasted Church makes some decent BC white wines. The Gewürztraminer saison was light and peppery with citrus notes. It was so strong I felt intoxicated.

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I asked L if he wanted to walk the area I surveyed for my research project in 2008. He politely but firmly declined, and suggested instead we go for a drink in a nicer area. I mentioned the nearby watering hole, The Cambie, was closing for good this November.

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I’ve only hung out here a couple of times, at the request of work or school friends. The Cambie attracts a diverse, laid-back crowd. I was happy to see the conditions of the washrooms have improved. I recalled a poutine ($10) that I enjoyed 10 years ago and I wanted to try it again.

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The poutine was tasty, but there were fewer cheese curds than I remembered. The gravy was dark and salty. The fries were crispy and mealy. I’d order this again, but The Cambie won’t be open when I return.

At 6:00 p.m., N responded to my text, saying she would be ready around 7:00 p.m. However, that lone beer I drank from Steamworks made me dizzy, and not in a good way. My face was still red and I felt queasy. I told N that I would get something to eat to see if my condition would improve.

L and I popped into Kita no Donburi. I liked that all the dishes had the calories listed on the menu. I noticed most customers were eating tonkatsu curry (1,500 calories). The restaurant was busy, most likely due to the location and cheap prices.

L ordered Tendon ($9.95, 786 calories). His dish came with organic veggies, salad, two prawns, a purple yam, sweet potato, tofu crumbles, and kaki-age (mixed vegetables). He wasn’t impressed. He complained the tempura sauce was too small, and in Japan, tendon is served the sauce already poured over the tempura. I thought his dish was tastier than mine.

I ordered Chirashi ($12.50, 722 calories) even though I would have preferred the tendon. Dr. Quinn, my family doctor, has been after me to eat more fish. My bowl came with salmon, tuna, wild salmon, ebi, hokkigai, tamago, saba, ikura, spring mix lettuce and avocado. None of the ingredients tasted fresh or flavourful. Everyone thinks the food in Vancouver is so great. It can be amazing, but there’s a lot of mediocre restaurants here too. This was one of them.

I still wasn’t feeling well, so I cancelled plans with N. L and I took the train back to Richmond and I called my mother to pick us up. L asked me if I thought it was weird that my parents still drive me around. “I can rent a car when we visit so your parents don’t have to do that. We are adults.” This is the third time L has brought this subject up to me. I didn’t respond until we were in my mother’s car because I wanted Boss Lady to give him a definitive answer. She did, and that was the end of that.

Kita No Donburi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Restaurants · Tokyo

Tokyo – Tempura Tendon Tenya

L gets annoyed when I use Yelp to find a restaurant. He said the restaurants I find on Yelp are good, but tailored to tourists. I agree with him, but the alternative are restaurants that do not want foreigners. I’ve found a number of restaurants catering to locals that turned us away. Plus, we are foreigners. I can’t even string together a coherent sentence. I found Tempura Tendon Tenya via Yelp, but this one is a winner. For this post, let’s listen to Shonen Knife’s “Top of the World.

We were walking around Ueno Station when I opened up my Yelp app and saw the pictures of Tempura Tendon Tenya. I ignored L rolling his eyes and navigated to the restaurant. We were seated right away. I noticed all the customers were old men. Always a promising sign.

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We were given cold cups of tea. I noticed there was complimentary hot tea at a self-serve countertop. We went through the menu to view variations of tempura on rice and soba noodles. We picked the easiest and best value option – mixed tendon on rice for only 790 Yen.

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The tempura is made by a machine. We waited about ten minutes for our bowls to arrive. Each bowl came with two shrimp, eel, fish, two green beans, seaweed, and a lemon peel. I found the portion quite generous, particularly for the price.

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Despite the bath of sweet tempura sauce, the generously battered seafood and vegetables remained crunchy and delicate. Oh god – this was good stuff. The tempura lemon peel was refreshing and decadent. The eel tasted like an oyster.

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The shrimp was crunchy and toothsome. The seaweed was incredibly delicious – there was a layer on top of the seaweed that gave it some bite. The rice was good – firm and sticky. Next time I come, I want to order all shrimp tempura and seaweed.

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There was an old man who made a loud production when he went to pay for his meal. The cook and staff come out of the kitchen to see who was making the commotion.  L and I were quite shocked because no one in Japan makes a scene unless their drunk. He was yelling and it sounded like he was complaining about the food. The female server said yes, yes, so sorry a few times in a quiet soothing voice. Then she asked him to settle his bill.

I spoke to TJ about our meal at Tendon Tenya. She informed us that Tenya is a chain restaurant and one of her favourite places for tendon. I told her about the scene the customer made and she concurred that it was very unJapanese to make a public spectacle like that. She mentioned that people with mental disorders are often not diagnosed in Japan, implying that the man’s behaviour was abnormal.