Eating Vancouver: Day 3 (daytime)

What felt great about waking up on day 3 was that I didn’t have to go to work.  This has been the first time in over a year I’ve taken more than two consecutive weekdays off work.  I’m not sure if that’s something to celebrate or be sad about.  Hmmm.  Anyways, my family had a bunch of places lined up that were right up my alley in terms of the food I typically eat… cheap places that are packed full because the food is great.  First stop, JAPADOG!  Now I had heard about Japadog about a year ago.  When I looked it up online, the website was in Japanese but it displayed pictures of hot dogs with Japanese toppings like wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce, seaweed and edamame.  This could either be the greatest thing ever or a disaster.  When we walked up to the place there were about 20 people waiting in line, which I’m told is short.

We ordered the spicy cheese terimayo and the kurobuta terimayo.  The former looked and tasted like a beef dog while the later was pork.

They pull the dogs right off the grill, where the buns are also warming, throw in some sauteed onions, put some teriyaki sauce, cheese sauce (for the spicy cheese) and seaweed on it.  I added the wasabi mayo myself much like you would add ketchup and mustard to street meat anywhere else.  First, the dogs are REALLY hot, temperature-wise.  I think we all burned our mouths.  Perhaps the anticipation of having to wait in line for 20 minutes made us jump the gun.  In terms of taste, it tastes like you would expect it to… like a good quality hot dog that you can find here in Toronto (Spadina and Queen guy, 2nd guy from the corner at Union station or blue truck guy in Nathan Philips Square) with Japanese toppings.  Just thinking of it now brings a smile to my face.  It’s good.  The novelty of putting these things in a hot dog is a little strange but it works.  It’s a little on the pricey side for a hot dog (just over $6) but it’s worth the experience.

Next, Kintaro ramen.  While waiting in line for half an hour I got to observe how they make it.  They have huge pots where they have the broth boiling (the place is quite steamy), they prepare the noodles on a small table and then boil them separately for what looks like a very specific amount of time to ensure the right texture.

Our order was taken while we were waiting to save some time between being seated and getting our food.  Once seated, the gyoza came out pretty quickly.

The gyoza was good.  Nothing particularly special.  Nice and crisp on the pan fried side and the filling had a lot of flavor.  It was cheap too at just over $3.  I had the miso ramen, their specialty that boasts a 12 spice broth.

It came with three BIG slabs of lean pork.  I ordered the lean (you have a choice of lean or fatty… I was trying to be healthy… you’ll see this didn’t last very long throughout the day).  The broth was medium as opposed to lean or fatty.  I still found the broth to be a little oily.  The broth was good.  Not too salty.  It was a little more bland than I had anticipated.  The ramen I’ve had in Toronto seems to burst with flavor.  In hindsight comparing the miso ramen here to the miso ramen there, Kintaro’s is pretty good, better than I had critiqued to my family.  What really stands out about this place though are the noodles.  These are hands down the best ramen noodles I’ve had… mind you I’ve only had ramen at two places in Toronto and a couple in Calgary… and well the instant stuff if you can even count that.  I would definitely go back to try their spicy garlic ramen.  That just sounds delicious.  The other bowl our group shared was the shio ramen.

I didn’t think the broth was as good as the miso ramen but again, the noodles are really the highlight of this place.  After, we decided to go for a stroll through Stanley park looking for a fish and chips place that my sister has been raving about.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for my waistline) it wasn’t open yet.  I guess it’s just a summer thing.  It was nice walking through the park though. If there is one thing I miss about home, well other than my family and friends, it’s the mountains.  Vancouver is especially nice since they have the ocean on the other side.  Seriously, look at this, green grass!  Blooming flowers!  Oh downtown Toronto, how you feel so cold sometimes…

After the park, we grabbed some gelato at Mondo Gelato.  Upon walking in, the first thing you notice are the vibrant colors of the many choices.

I’m trying to think back to what flavors we had.  I remember the pistachio, the strawberry cheesecake and a mango one.  Hmmm, what was that last one… I don’t think I had any of it since it was a chocolate flavored one… After Eight maybe?  I remember tasting something minty.  Well, in any case, the gelato was really good.  Definitely comparable, if not better than, Dolce here in Toronto.  They have more flavors though and I have to admit, although it’s not a traditional Italian flavor, that cheesecake one was heavenly.

On the way home we stopped at one more place.  That’s right, it’s not even dinner yet.  I had heard about this place from a friend in Toronto who was recently in Vancouver for the Olympics.  After hearing of stools that hold your dipping sauces, I clearly had to make a stop at Fritz European Fry House.

We ordered a small poutine and a small fry with two dipping sauces: the garlic lovers (obviously) and the mango curry chutney.

The fries themselves are as good as any french fry stand or fry joint I’ve been to. Hot and crisp while still being soft and potatoey in the middle.  The ones soaked in the gravy got a little soggy which is to be expected.  The poutine was good.  The cheese curds weren’t squeeky like those in Montreal or as flavorful but they added a nice soft texture.  The gravy was thicker than most I’ve had and was made from what tasted like a beef stock, as opposed to some that use chicken or a combination of chicken and beef stock.  A solid poutine but I would say I prefer the Toronto or Montreal variations.  The sauces were gooooood.  They were thick and stuck to the fries in a nice thick layer, which was good since I think we ordered too much dip for an order of small fries.  The garlic lovers is really for garlic lovers.  It has a strong garlic flavor but wasn’t so strong that you could no longer taste the fries.  Just the right amount of strong garlic flavor… if that makes any sense.  The mango curry chutney was good too.  Same consistency as the garlic lovers (comparable to Kraft brand mayo… consistency not taste).  It didn’t have an overpowering curry flavor (perhaps a little too weak since I like curry) but the fruit flavor did come out.  At the end, there were only a few fries left and quite of a bit of the sauce left.  I really wish I had taken a picture of this but I dumped the remaining sauces into the cup with the few remaining fries for one last glorious bite.  I reminded me of that scene from Tommy Boy when Chris Farley eats a fry and squirts ketchup into his mouth to which David Spade responds in disgust, “I can hear you getting fatter”.  Well, that last bite… that was me getting fatter.  I should go do some sit-ups or something now.  I’ll write about the dinner at Cioppino’s (that evening belive it or not) some other time.

~ by jlowjlow on April 1, 2010.

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