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The best day of vacation I had this spring break was when I went sight seeing and saw how beautiful Vancouver, B.C. really is. Not only did I get to go sight seeing, but I also had the best meal that day. My best friend’s cousin is a fellow foodie. He once worked at a corporate restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. called Joey’s and really understands good food. It’s super awesome to know fellow foodies when traveling because he knew exactly the best restaurants to take us to.

It was a beautiful day in Vancouver, B.C.

We went to Phnom Penh (244 E Georgia St. V6A) for some Vietnamese/Cambodian food – Overall Restaurant Rating: 5/5 – The locals were telling me that Phnom Penh’s chicken wings were voted the best wings in town. WINGS! I love wings and I was about to have the best wings in all of Vancouver! You can imagine my excitement at the table.

What my table ordered:

Phnom Penh Spicy Garlic Calamari

Spicy Garlic Calamari – Rating: 4.5/5 – Deep fried squid seasoned with salt, pepper and fried garlic. It wasn’t really spicy though, just flavorful and crispy. Squid when cooked incorrectly can be too chewy, but the squid from Phnom Penh was cooked to perfection.

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

Vietnamese Hot & Sour Soup – Rating: 5/5 – Vietnamese hot and sour soup can sometimes be too sweet, too spicy or too sour. Phnom Penh’s hot and sour soup was great because it was just right: sweet, sour and spicy. Not too much of anything. The perfect mix of flavors made it exotic and delicious.

Phnom Penh Marinated Buttered Beef

Marinated Buttered Beef – Rating: 5/5 – I’ve never had anything like this, but wow, it was so good! I wanted to eat the whole plate by myself. I thought of the perfect word to describe it: savory, or to Canadians, savoury! One thing I should point out is that the beef is thinly sliced rib eye that is barely cooked. It’s not chewy like you would expect raw meat to be, but moist and flavorful.

Trieu Chow Fried Rice

“Trieu Chow” Fried Rice (Friend Rice special) – Rating: 4.5/5 – Great fried rice is not easy to find, but I found it here at Phnom Penh. The fried rice was moist and flavorful, made with bomb Vietnamese sausage.

Beef Salad

Beef Salad – Rating: 4/5 – Cooked beef on lettuce, the beef was a bit sweet, but it tasted great with rice.

Phnom Penh Deep Friend Chicken Wings

Phnom Penh Deep Fried Chicken Wings – Rating: 5/5 – Phnom Penh’s wings were voted the best wings in Vancouver B.C. and I couldn’t agree more. We had two orders of these wings because they were eaten so quickly. The wings were lightly battered, but extra crispy. They were meaty and well seasoned with salt, pepper and fried garlic.  The dish was served with a lime sauce that goes perfect with the wings.

From the outside, the restaurant just looks like another Asian restaurant in the midst of Vancouver’s Chinatown, but Phnom Penh is better than most of those restaurants because it has quality, delicious food. If you ever have the chance to stop by, make sure to order their famous chicken wings, the spicy garlic calamari and if you can handle some raw meat, the marinated buttered beef. Go for it! I already have plans to go back to Vancouver in May and can’t wait to try more delicious food there. Now that I’m back in Eugene, no food here can seem to compare to the food I had in Vancouver!

Phnom Penh’s menu and other reviews are available on UrbanSpoon:

Phnom Penh on Urbanspoon

Happy eating and traveling my fellow foodies!

I’m back! I finally have a chance to post since coming back from spring break. For the first few days of spring break, I was at home in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t end up going to the Great Wolf Lodge as planned, but I went out to eat a few times with my family and friends in Portland. It was a chill time. The best part of break was when I visited beautiful Vancouver, B.C. at the end of break. I ate so much amazing food there and had such a great time! I wish I could just move there. My best friend has cousins and friends in Vancouver around our age, who are all super cool. We’re so lucky to have them to show us around town. Another awesome thing about Canada is that I am of legal age there so I can order drinks with my dinner!

Martini's Restaurant

The first night in Vancouver, our Canadian friends took us to a little restaurant called Martini’s Restaurant (151 West Broadway V5Y 1P4). Overall Restaurant Rating 3/5 – I liked the vibes and the coziness of the restaurant, but the food needed a little work. The drinks were decent priced if you come in on the right night! The first thing I did when I walked into the restaurant was walk up to the bar and ask the bartender to give me the two most popular martinis. She gave me a sour apple and a grape martini. After two martinis, I, being extremely lightweight, was already warm and giggly at the table.

What my table ordered:

Appetizers:

Honey Garlic Wings

Honey Garlic Wings – Rating: 4.5/5 – Who knew honey and garlic went so well together? I really like how crispy and sweet the wings were, but they were also very sticky. Although, that is inevitable when it comes to honey. I couldn’t figure out what the dip was though, but it tasted like sweetened mayonnaise and went well with the wings. The wings weren’t on the regular menu, but were on the March Specials menu.

Side Salad

Salad – Rating: 4.5/5 – The entrees were all served with salads. I really like the fresh vegetables and the subtly spicy dressing on the salad.

Entrees:

Seafood Jambalaya

Seafood Jambalaya – Rating: 3/5 – The jambalaya tasted like mashed up tomatoes with rice. It wasn’t spicy like how I like my jambalaya, but more tart. I think the dish would’ve been better as a pasta dish than a rice dish. I did like the seafood in it though.

Spanish Tortellini

Spanish Tortellini – Rating: 2/5 – The flavors, or lack of flavors in the dish just didn’t go too well together. The description of the sauce on the menu was supposed to be a spicy cream tomato sauce, but the sauce wasn’t very spicy or flavorful at all. I’m not sure if the cheese inside the tortellini went well with the rest of the dish either.

Chicken Penne

Chicken penne – Rating: 2/5 – So I’m not sure what this dish is called because it was on the March Specials menu and since it’s April now, the March menu is not available online. Overall, every pasta dish I tried there was really bland. This dish had a tomato cream sauce with penne pasta, chicken and spinach. The sauce needed more flavor (or to Canadians, flavour!).

Calamari Dinner

Calamari Dinner – Rating: 4.5/5 – I tried a bunch of people’s dishes at the table and I’m sure the Calamari Dinner is the best item on the menu. Who knew tzatziki dip would go so well with calamari!

Overall, Martini’s is a good place for late night food when nothing else is open. We got into Vancouver, B.C. at 10pm on Thursday and Martini’s was open until 1am. So if you ever are in Vancouver late night on a weekday, here’s a place to check out.

Check out their menus and specials on the website: http://www.martinis.ca/

Here are UrbanSpoons’ reviews:

Martini's on Urbanspoon

Happy traveling and eating my fellow foodies!

Overall Restaurant – Rating: 3/5. As a college student I eat a lot of Top Ramen. Honestly, the ramen I tried at Toshi’s Ramen (1520 Pearl St. 97401) didn’t taste much different from what I can make at home. Unless someone points out a dish I MUST try from there, I probably won’t be back anytime soon. I might go there if I completely run out of Top Ramen at home and really feel like paying $7.50 for some. I’m not giving the restaurant lower than a 3 because they at least have some ingredients that an average person wouldn’t have at home to add to their ramen.

Toshi’s menu is extremely overwhelming. It’s difficult to figure out where to start if it’s your first time! However, the cashier was more than happy to explain how the menu works:

First, there are three soup bases to choose from:
Sho-yu: Soy sauce based
Miso: Soybean paste based – this is the most popular soup base, she noted.
Shio: Salt based

Once you choose your soup base, you choose what you want in your ramen:

It starts with plain: Ramen noodles with topped with green onions and bean sprouts.
Then the original: Green onions, bean sprout, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans and marinated sliced pork.
After that, the choices are everything in original with one or two more ingredients added to it. The price increases according to what you add to it.

What we ordered:

Toshi's Miso Wakame: Miso soup with seaweed, green onions, bean sprouts, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, and marinated sliced pork.

Miso Wakame – Rating: 2/5 – Soybean based soup with seaweed and everything in the orginal (green onions, bean sprouts, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, and marinated sliced pork). I liked the seaweed and corn in my ramen, but the broth was overly salted. I generally like my miso soup a little more bland. I also like my miso soup with tofu and have the tofu soak up the tasty soup, but tofu wasn’t even an option as an add-in on the menu. The pork slice had a little bit too much fat on it.  I did however, like the ramen noodles – they were cooked al dente; I think the ramen noodles are actually made there from scratch.

If I wanted to make something like this at home, I would use Top Ramen and crack an egg in it. I’d watch the noodles to make sure they are cooked al dente and add all those ingredients in the ramen. I learned from my Miso Wakame that I like corn in my ramen so I would add that.

Toshi's Shoyu Butter: Soy sauce soup with butter, green onions, bean sprouts, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, and marinated sliced pork.

Shoyu Butter – Rating: 3/5 – Soy sauce based soup with original ingredients and BUTTER. I liked this soup based a lot better than the miso. I think it actually had a lot to do with the butter. I was turned off by the idea of a whole stick of butter in the soup, but it actually made a big difference in taste. They had a few seasonings on the table you could add to your soup. There was a shaker with red seasoning in it, which I’m guessing is paprika. My friend added a lot of it to her soup and it made it taste a lot better.

If I wanted to make something like this at home, I would cook ramen noodles as usual, but use only half of the seasoning and add 2 tablespoon of soy sauce. Then I’d add 1/3 cup of butter and any other ingredients, like vegetables or meat I’d like. I’m sure I’d get the same affect as the Shoyu Butter ramen bowl.

If you end up going there, I’ve heard the Gyoza (pork & veggies potstickers) and the Cha-han (fried rice served with a side of soup) is good to try. The gyoza is little pricey for 6 potstickers though,  they’re $4. Those are two items I’d try next time if I come back. If you’re ordering ramen, I’d stick with the shoyu soup and have butter be one of the ingredients.

Toshi’s Ramen doesn’t have a fully active website, but urbanspoon has menus, reviews and other information for the place:
Toshi's Ramen on UrbanspoonHappy eating my fellow foodies!

Overall Restaurant – Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 – If you search Sweet Life Patisserie (755 Monroe Street, 97402) on Google, you’ll find an average rating of 4 ½ stars with 386 reviews. For the most part, I agree. I love the place and its atmosphere. I make a trip to Sweet Life with my friends almost once a month. Yes, I have a HUGE sweet tooth; I’ve probably been there at least 15 times since I’ve lived in Eugene. It’s a great place to chill with friends. I can’t exactly give the place 5 stars because I’ve had more fail desserts than winners. They have so many desserts and treats to choose from, it’s hard to figure out which one to choose. After going there so many times, I’ve learned that there are definitely some desserts you should just avoid ordering.

What I’ve tried:

Drinks

Mixed berry smoothie

Mixed berry smoothie – Rating: 2/5 – It tasted like a margarita without the alcohol. Okay, so a virgin mixed berry smoothie/margarita should be decent, right? Nope. It tasted like watered down fruit juice with an off-after taste.

Raspberry cremosa – Rating: 4/5 – Loved the cremosa and the raspberry taste, but I’d avoid sweet drinks with sweet desserts. It’s a sweetness overload! Stick with water or milk.

Desserts

Lemon bar

Lemon bar – Rating: 5/5 – If you like lemon bars (love it or hate it type of dessert), then this is a good lemon bar to try. The tart taste of the lemon bar is very well- balanced with a good amount of confectioner’s sugar. Yum.

Pumpkin cookie

Pumpkin cookie with frosting – Rating: 3/5 – Pumpkin desserts are kind of iffy to me. The pumpkin cookie was slightly too sweet and had a tad bit of nutmeg spice.

Red velvet cupcake – Rating: 2/5 – I read this article discussing the necessities of an authentic red velvet cake and the red velvet cupcake at Sweet Life didn’t seem to have any of the listed components, besides being red. The frosting was definitely not cream cheese.

Strawberries-topped cheesecake

Strawberries-topped cheesecake – Rating: 4/5 – Rich, a tad bit heavy but the strawberry topping balances the richness of the cheesecake.

Chocolate cream pie

Chocolate cream pie – Rating: 1/5 – No, don’t do it. What happened? The chocolate custard was way bitter, but had no taste of chocolate. It tasted more like cheap coffee ground. I am a chocoholic, but the chocolate custard just did not taste like chocolate. I was thoroughly disappointed. I took three bites hoping it’d start to taste better, but just ended up taking home the majority of the slice hoping to fix it somehow.

Tiramisu – Rating: 2/5 – Their Tiramisu tastes funny. I’ve had better Tiramisu from Fred Meyer’s, Safeway or even Cash N’ Carry’s frozen cake.

Cream cheese brownie

Cream cheese brownie – Rating: 5/5 – Oh my gosh, yum. My go-to dessert. So rich and so decadent. It totally satisfies my sweet tooth. My friends had theirs heated to make it even better. Warm or not, the brownie is delicious either way!

Brownie sundae

Brownie sundae – Rating: 5/5 – I saved the best for last. I’ve been to Sweet Life so many times, but once I discovered this dessert, I have not been able to try anything else. You can create your own brownie sundae by picking your choice of brownie and topping it with your choice of gelato. My favorite all-time combination: cream cheese brownie topped with dark Venezuelan chocolate. The turtle brownie topped with Tahitian vanilla gelato is amazing too. Describing this makes me want some right now. Yum!

Overall, Sweet Life is a great place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth, but be aware that not everything they offer will do the trick!

Check out Sweet Life Patisserie’s website for their menu and other information: http://www.sweetlifedesserts.com/

Here is urbanspoon’s reviews of Sweet Life:

Sweet Life Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Happy eating!

Overall Restaurant – Rating: 4/5 – Here’s a post for the people of Corvallis and its visitors! I go to school in Eugene, but I visit Corvallis about twice a term to see my pretty girlfriends that attend school there! Yes, I’m a g. The girls and I usually stick to coffee and a small breakfast when I’m there, but we went all out last weekend when my friends took me to The Broken Yolk Café (119 Southwest 3rd Street, 97333). The restaurant was super cool and artsy inside. I liked the vibes and the servers were all nice. The rating is not 5/5 because I love the restaurant itself, but this time, I made the mistake of not asking the server what I should order before actually ordering, and ended up with a bland dish. What my table ordered:

Drinks

The Broken Mocha

The Broken Mocha – Rating: 5/5 – ½ cocoa & ½ coffee topped with whipped cream. Wow, what a genius idea! This is how I make my coffee ever since my first sip of The Broken Mocha. By the way, the drink is served in a large beer mug and it’s only $2.95; that’s a pretty good deal, I’d say.

Cup of Coffee

Coffee – Rating: 5/5 – A very good cup of coffee and the best part: everyone gets their own coffee mug so yours is different from the person next to you. No more accidentally grabbing your friend’s cup of joe!

Breakfast

Big Bad Wet Burrito

Big Bad Wet Breakfast Burrito – Rating: 4/5 – A very good–sized burrito that should be shared (unless you want leftovers). It was a little bland, but I just added some Tabasco sauce and it was much better.

Hash browns – Rating: 5/5 – Just the way I like it: Crispy on top, soft on the bottom.

Ham and Cheese Omelette w/Hash Browns

Ham & Cheese Omelette – Rating: 3/5 – My boyfriend can usually clear his plate, but he stopped eating the omelette midway because he said it just got old. Well, it’s a ham and cheese omelette so it’s as basic as you can get, but there might be a way to spice it up more.

3rd Street Scramble

3rd Street Scramble – Rating: 5/5 – If you like vegetarian dishes, this would be an ideal breakfast dish – it’s scrambled eggs with roasted garlic, spinach, mushroom, feta and pine nuts. I like my dishes not too vegetarian, so I personally thought it was a little bland, but the girls at my table loved this dish.

Of course being somewhat hung over, I decided to ask the waitress what were popular dishes people often ordered AFTER everyone at my table had finished eating. To her surprise, no one at the table ordered anything popular, of course. These are the dishes she said customers loved:
The Cajun Skillet
Hobo Hash
Corned Beef Hash & Eggs (hate it or love it type of dish)
Oh and don’t forget, I repeat, do not forget to try their Grandma’s homemade strawberry jam (Rating – 5/5* must try). I wanted to drink it. The jam was a bit runny, but it tasted amazing! It was worth all the stickiness.

Overall, it was not too bad of an experience. The food was a bit bland and the prices were a bit on the higher end for breakfast foods (around $9.50/plate), but I liked the atmosphere and the service. If you order the right dish, you’ll love the place. If you still have the stomach for it, it’s a great place for a hangover breakfast!

Here’s the website with the Broken Yolk Café menus and other information: http://www.broken–yolk.com/

Check out urbanspoon’s reviews of Broken Yolk Café:
Broken Yolk Cafe on Urbanspoon

Happy eating!

Overall Restaurant – Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 – Success! Finally found a bomb hot wings joint in Eugene. Check out their Facebook: Hot Mama’s Wings’ Facebook.

Hot Mama’s Wings (420 West 13th Avenue, 97401) just opened yesterday and you can already find a ton of information about the hot, new restaurant on the Internet. Big ups to them for using social media as a marketing tool! Instead of going into details about the whole restaurant, I’ll just recommend to you what to order from there. If you’re interested in learning more about the restaurant, you can check out Oregon Daily Emerald’s article or Eugene Weekly’s article on the joint. I’ll just eat there and tell you what’s good.

So first off, I got to tell you: Their wings are meaty. This is a good thing. I had wings at the other hot wings joint near campus last weekend and those were literally just bones. Those tasted like frozen wings you buy at the grocery store and reheat them in the microwave.

The wings at Hot Mama’s however, are real, meaty chicken wings.

Here’s what my friends and I tried today:

Starters:

Crispy, brown French fries

French fries – Rating: 5/5 – They were brown, but crispy. The color of the French fries threw me off at first, but dang, they were good. They crunch in your mouth.

Jalapeno Poppers - Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon

Jalapeno poppers – Rating: 3/5 – Hollowed out peppers, stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. The pepper-filled cream cheese was a bit rich for my taste. I ended up just eating the bacon wrap.

Tater tots – Rating: 4/5 – Crispy tater tots, good, but could have used more seasoning.

Main course:

Wings – Rating: 5/5 – Meaty & crispy. The best part: Not messy. It’s like they cooked the sauce into the wings. It’s not your usual deep-fried wings smothered in sauce. You get the flavors when you bite into the wings without having your face and hands covered in sauce. They offered tempeh, grilled and fried wings. We all went with the fried.

Upper left: Chipotle Bourbon, Upper right: Jalapeno Poppers, Middle: Hot

Flavors of wings we tried (I don’t have the exact flavor names. I made the mistake of not taking a picture of the menu):

Hot – Rating: 3/5 – Not too flavorful, but spicy. Have some fun, order something that’s spicy and flavorful.

Medium – Rating: 4/5 – Not too flavorful, but a good amount of spicy for those who cannot handle hot.

BBQ – Rating: 4/5 – Plain, standard BBQ flavor, as expect. Maybe they should offer Honey BBQ also so it’s not as standard.

Cilantro Lime – Rating: 3/5 – The flavor of the cilantro did not come out, neither did the lime. It just tasted like a piece of fried chicken.

Root-beer Glazed – Rating: 5/5 – The table’s first favorite. A tad bit sweet, a tad bit spicy and a tad bit salty, perfecto. You can taste that spicy, sweet root beer flavor. Awesome! *Must try!

Pineapple – Ratings: 3/5 – More like limey than pineapple-y? A little bit too tangy of a flavor for wings.

Chipotle Bourbon – Rating 5/5 – My table’s second favorite. Extremely spicy and flavorful at the same time. *Must try!

All of us ordered 9 wings for $8.50 and chose three different flavors. Appetizers were about $4 and drinks were $2. They had many other choices of food besides wings, but we went for the wings. I’ll post a copy of the menu for prices and choices as soon as I get my hands on one. Post comments if you tried anything else from the restaurant that I should review! I’ll definitely be back there soon.

Check out urbanspoon’s rating of Hot Mama’s Wings:

Hot Mama's Wings on Urbanspoon

Happy eating!

Eating like there's no tomorrow.

I started this blog knowing only one thing: I wanted to write about food.

But, what about food? I don’t know. I just know I love food when I’m hungry…or bored.

After talking to a fellow journalist, he suggested I review local restaurants around campus to give Eugenites some insight and ideas on where to eat and what to eat.

I liked the idea, but thought it was too local; I want to appeal to anyone from anywhere.

But then, he asked me how do I expect to generate buzz nationally, when I haven’t done so locally?

Ah, words of wisdom, my friends. So, here goes the new direction and focus of my blog:

I will be stopping by local restaurants around the University of Oregon campus area and around Eugene to review their food, prices, menu selections, atmosphere and anything else that comes to mind.

I am, however, a starving college student and therefore cannot afford to go out to eat so often, so here’s what I am going to do: Alternate between restaurant reviews and recipe reviews. Quite the tongue-twister there.

Well, folks. Wish me luck!


Blogger Linda Lam

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