Awesome FollowMeFoodie Mijune – Will vlog for a great meal – Vancouver Sun

Sunday, 18 March, 2012

Full half page photo of FollowMeFoodie MiJune

(Photo credit: @CoffeeGeek)

Hello foodies, check out this Vancouver Sun article “Will vlog for a great meal” featuring the awesome Mijune (Twitter/Facebook). Here is an excerpt from  “Will vlog” (emphasis added),

“But when it comes to food vloggers — that is, bloggers who post videos — it’s the new order. Vlogging requires crazy commitment and passion. Sure, cellphones and pocket cameras can easily capture video, but scripting, shooting, editing and uploading is another thing. It takes a sizable bite out of one’s life and exquisite patience. Ouch!

One such local vlogger, Mijune Pak, of Richmond, posts on YouTube and on her blog, Follow Me Foodie. “I know the food blogging community is very saturated right now but vlogging hasn’t been touched,” she says.

Here’s the reason in a nutshell. She and her two-man crew shot for three hours, then edited for six hours to produce a 1.5 minute video. Who’s got that kind of time or expertise?

We’re doing it because we’re passionate and it’s a good way of getting exposure,” says Pak, 25. One video, The Things Foodies Say [note: see below], “went crazy,” she says. “It’s very challenging because most viewers click off after two or three minutes. To lock in a recipe in two or three minutes is very challenging.”

Also check out her FollowMeFoodie YouTube channel and this really funny 90 seconds clip. If you love food, I bet you will laugh at recognizing things you or your friends say! Enjoy.

Shit Foodies Say – Episode 1

Disclosure: I’ve known Mijune personally for years and I think she is doing some great creative work with her FollowMeFoodie site and FollowMeFoodie YouTube channel.


Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – El Bulli

Monday, 3 October, 2011

Anthony Bourdain: No ReservationsEl Bulli (part 1, part 2, and part 3)


Inspecting the kitchens of Calgary restaurants you like

Wednesday, 13 July, 2011

Recently I did a food review and ended up visiting my online friend/tool, the Alberta Health”Calgary and Area Environmental Health Inspection Reports” database (mentioned earlier in Jan 2010).

The important and user friendly “Inspection Reports” database gives you an interesting behind-the-scene look of restaurants, bakeries, etc. If your favourite restaurants, etc are repeatedly committing critical violations (those flagged with Critical: YES), then you probably should be considering switching to cleaner establishments.

Find your favourite restaurants in the “Inspection Reports” database and see how they score in the inspection. Have fun and healthy eating!

P.S. On a serious note, a friend of minie ate some bad seafood in a supposedly great Hong Kong restaurant and was in hospital for many days. So it never hurts to be more careful with where you eat.

P.P.S. The database goes by the registered official name, so it may be slightly different from the names they put up on their stores or ads. I recommend you search by the first letter of the name of the store. And then try to find the one you are looking for using the text search on your browser.


Macleod Sushi & BBQ – Food Review

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 01 - various sushi - visit 1 - order 2

[Dec 21, 2011 Update: See additional somewhat negative remarks in the comment section at the bottom of this post.]

[Feb 16, 2013 Update: Why we stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ? We had been a long time customers even though the food quality sometimes varies. Over Christmas holiday, we went there well before closing (30-40 mins) but were told that they don’t & won’t serve us our favourite all-you-can eat sushi anymore because of a busy day. So we were greatly disappointed. And then later another time, we were told that if we need a pot of hot water (we don’t drink tea, just hot water), we would be charged a $2 per pot fee in the new year of 2013. This disappointed me greatly as it seemed so wrong a way to treat a long time repeat customer. So in 2013, I am glad to say I have stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ. Gave me an excuse to eat a few less all-you-can eat meal, which may be a good thing for me to shred a few kg! :) ]

I love food, especially reasonably priced, reasonably good food. So we were quite happy to discover Macleod Sushi & BBQ (Suite 100, 5211 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary). We went there twice already in two weeks to check out their lunch time $14.95 all-you-can-eat Japanese sushi & cooked food and Korean BBQ. After my first visit, I even spent sometime to chat with the sushi chef Ken about the food (Ken told me he is in charge of food quality).

In the following food review, you will see what I like and don’t like about Macleod Sushi & BBQ.

House Salad

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 03 - House Salad

House Salad:  7/10  It tasted nice, nothing too unexpected.

[Possible improvement: put the same amount of salad dressing on each salad. Of the two house salads we ordered, one had normal amount of dressing and the other one (above photo) had too much dressing.]

Various Nigiri Sushi and Rolls (over two visits and multiple orders)

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 04 - various sushi

General comment: These sushi and rolls were all quite nice, not your typical “all-you-can-eat” stuff. Some years ago, one restaurant used a machine to form the sushi rice, that was horrible. Fortunately, they aren’t in business anymore. And some all-you-can eat places put way too much rice on the sushi, as if to try to stuff you full first. Now the following are my ratings for the Nigiri sushi and rolls.

Tuna: 8/10, Salmon: 8/10, California roll: 7.5/10, Chopped Scallop: 9/10

The chopped scallop got a 9/10 because the scallop was fresh and sauce was nice. And the seaweed was crunchy if I eat it right away. This is nice attention to detail. note: of course, if you leave the Chopped Scallop uneaten for too long, the seaweed will soften and it won’t taste as nice in terms of having a crunchy and smooth taste in your mouth.

Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 01 - various sushi - visit 1 - order 2Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 09 - variious sushi

The above pictures of sushi and rolls were taken from our second visit. I want to bring out an important point that the food have to be consistently good. The food’s taste and presentation should be consistent over multiple visits. [July 26 update: We recently had our third visit. And I am happy to say, the food is still consistently good plus they even improved some of the dishes. e.g. I will rate the Shrimp Tempura: 8/10 now.]

You see, there was one restaurant that we visited once, it wasn’t even able to send out consistent dishes from the kitchen on the same day when we ordered the same thing!

As you may notice in the photo on the right, we ordered some rolls to try. We ordered Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll, I think thats their names. Anyway, they are the ones that have BBQ salmon skin in them. When done well, the salmon skin should be crunchy and mixed well with the rest of the roll. In this case, the salmon skin was too hard and tough to chew. I ended up eating the rest of the rolls and picked out the salmon skin (the roll’s main ingredient).

Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll: 2/10 (Macleod needs to fix this asap)

Baked Oysters

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 06 - baked oyster - visit 1 - order 1

The oyster Read the rest of this entry »


Durian fruit for $6

Saturday, 7 August, 2010

English (英文): Bought our first Durian yesterday for less than $6 at Superstore. (Never opened up one of these monsters myself before.) It tasted like fresh ice cream as hoped. We plastic wrapped those we couldn’t finished and put them in the fridge. Ha ha, unfortunately, the plastic wrap is no match for the strong smell of the Durian and its smell is now all over the fridge.

中文 (Chinese): 昨天第一次自己買了榴蓮開來吃(只要五元多)。好吃得像雪糕。吃不完的放進雪櫃,但紙包不住火,保鮮紙也包不住榴蓮的氣味。哈哈。

Durian (榴蓮)

Shells of Durian (榴蓮)

P1290232


Sushi Kai Calgary – All you can taste buffet review

Friday, 16 July, 2010

P1280909

To attract people to its new Kensington area to try its food, Sushi Kai Calgary created an “All you can taste buffet” (note: it is still an “All you can eat buffet“). The food at Sushi Kai’s old Chinatown location were reasonably good so I decided to give the new location’s buffet a try and review them at the same time.

[July 29, 2011 Update: Check out “Macleod Sushi & BBQ – Food Review” which I have gone back to eat again a few times!]

Deep fried shrimp (3/10) & oyster (8/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 1

The batter for the deep fried shrimp wasn’t the fluffy tempura batter I had expected so I was disappointed. But the deep fried oysters used a lighter tempura batter which I liked more and it was quite tasty. Unfortunately, when I ordered some more deep fried oysters later, the chef (or a different chef?) decided to use different batter which I didn’t like at all.

Second batch of deep fried oysters (3/10) (they looked and tasted different from the first batch):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 13

Sushi (8/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 2

The presentation and taste of the first dish of sushi were pretty good. I particularly like the Mackerel and BBQ Eel (which were warmed up by the chef).

Now, what I can’t understand is why the second batch looked and tasted different? You can’t see it but the BBQ Eel were cold (the chef should have warmed them up like the first batch) and the Mackerel didn’t have the cuts and burn-marks like the first batch (see following photo).

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 11

Consistent presentation and taste of food over different days (let alone on the same night) should be a minimum requirement of any self-respecting restaurant. Most customers won’t go back after a bad food experience at a new restaurant.

Hand cone & Sushi Rolls –

Toro hand cone (7/10), mango paradise (8.5/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 12

Naraku roll (7/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 9

Deep fried shrimp roll (Age sushi) (1/10):

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 8

The novelty factor of the deep fried shrimp roll ended badly after the first bite. Bad job in deep frying the shrimp roll. The Naraku roll was ok, not something I would order again. I enjoyed the Mango Paradise rolls and did order it again and still enjoyed it the second time. Other restaurant uses a thin slice of real mango but I found the mango sauce was an cheaper but still ok substitute. The Toro hand cone was ok, the distribution of the toro was a bit uneven as there were no fish left in the last bite.

Deep fried squid legs (6.5/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 10

The two same sauces are used here. And the chef might have forgot to add a tiny little bit of salt to the dish.

Mixed veg tempura (7/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 7

I’ve had better tempura, they were ok.

Steak & Chicken (1/10 & 3/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 5

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 6

The steak was so tough and chewy, Sushi Kai needs to buy a slightly better cut of beef or prepare them better. The chicken was barely ok as I can cook better chicken than this.

Octopus balls (7/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 3

For someone who likes octopus balls (essentially a ball of starch with a tiny bit of octopus in the middle), it was ok so I leave it as a 7/10. For me, I never like it and this one hasn’t changed my mind.

Grill squid (8/10)

Sushi Kai Calgary review - pix 4

Other than the sauces (more on this later), the grill squid was tasty.

Sauces

Sushi Kai seems to sprinkle the same two sauces on most of their dishes. Why? They should really spend a little bit of time to create appropriate sauces for each dish. There is no point in using the same sauces over and over and over again as it shows a serious lack of love of food.

Presentation & plates

Except the first dish, every other dishes were put on a cheap round glass plate. Why? Food presentation should be pleasing to the eyes and the big round plates do take up way too much space on the table. And have I said they look ugly?!

Final Comments

I want to give this restaurant another chance but given some of the poorly made dishes (simple stuff like beef, chicken) and the inconsistency of the food (the first vs the second batch of sushi), I don’t know if I will give it another chance.

P.S. Website

These days, every restaurant should have a proper website. And failing that, a simple basic site with basic information, including the hours of operation, should be posted. (note the word “Hours” is on the site but without the actual hours of operation).

Home page of SushiKaiCalgary.com

****

NOTE: All food review ratings are based on the initial date of review. Food quality may improve or deteriorate over time. Feel free to share your personal experience (respectfully) in the comments section.


Chef Lau interview – In pursuit of excellent Dim Sum at Calgary Buddha’s Veggie (and more)

Thursday, 11 March, 2010

April 6 update: Please see further comments posted on April 6, 2011.

***

I believe money can be made in the restaurant business, good food at a reasonable price and service, how hard can it be? But many restaurateurs just want to make their quick bucks and don’t want to put much care nor attention into the quality of the food they serve. As a result, Chinese restaurants that serve good Dim Sum is very hard to find in Calgary (especially in Calgary South).

Well, this past Sunday I had a great Dim Sum lunch at Chef Lau’s Buddha’s Veggie (its Chinese name: Fusion 菜) and I can now say there is a good Dim Sum restaurant in Calgary South that I can enjoy. And it is quite convenient (close to Chinook Centre).

Chef Lau (劉師父), Buddha's Veggie (Fusion 菜)

We had one vegetarian and 6 meat/seafood dim sum dishes. Following are the snapshots of the names & prices on the menu and pictures of the dishes we had this Sunday.

Buddha's Veggie (Fusion 菜) - Dim Sum list - pg 1Buddha's Veggie (Fusion 菜) - Dim Sum list - pg 2

Veggie Shrimp Dumplings (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)
Comment: The ingredients are finely chopped and the results is a very tasty creation.

Veggie Shrimp Dumplings (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)

Shanghai-style Soup Buns
Comment: Like Chef Lau said, the tiny “buns” are very juicy by design. And the skins are thin and you have to be careful when you pick it up. I was extremely careful but still manage to break a few of them. (Tip: take one and put it into your bowl and then add the red vinegar.) Very tasty.

Shanghai-style Soup Buns (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)

Honey Comb Tofu
Comment: This is a must have. I love this dish the most. The tofu is quite soft in the centre. And the skin is “honey comb” textured. Very tasty.

Honey Comb Tofu ( (Dim Sum by Chef Lau))

Fish Roe Siu Mai
Comment: A nice “siu mai”. Love the texture and the mixture of ingredients. And like the touch of adding fish roes on top after the steaming process.

Fish Roe Siu Mai (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)

Supreme Shrimp Dumplings
Comments: The shrimps are quite big. Very tasty. Because I was quite hungry and tried to take out a dumpling while it was hot and the skin still very soft, I broke the skin of the dumpling. May be the skin were a little bit too thin this day? Or the stick together?

Supreme Shrimp Dumplings (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)

Chiuchau Fangor
Comment: Very tasty. Another favourite of mine.

Chiuchau Fangor (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)

Mayonnaise Crispy Rice Rolls
Comments: One of the most pleasantly surprising and yummy dish. Very light and tasty. Highly recommended.

Mayonnaise Crispy Rice Rolls (Dim Sum by Chef Lau)

The above dishes not only look great but they are very tasty as well, highly recommended. Now, let me say a few words about the English names of the dishes. To be honest, the English names of the dishes can be a bit cryptic (e.g. “Chiuchau Fangor”) to people who haven’t have a lot of dim sum. I’ve written about translating names of Chinese dishes into English in this previous blog entry and Chef Lau can take a look in updating the names for future if he wishes.

A few more words about naming. Chef Lau explained to me Buddha’s Veggie is an established brand name in Calgary which is why he wishes to keep it even he has extended the menu to add meat and seafood dishes.

I think Chef Lau has to solve this dilemma in the long run, and I am afraid name change will likely be required. Will see. Now, articles like this will help people to know more about this fine restaurant but it is still confusing when the menu has been extended.

The reason I decided to put a spotlight on this fine restaurant is because it is good quality and value Chinese Dim Sum is hard to find in Calgary (especially Calgary South). And I want this restaurant to be successful so that it will continue to thrive and I will have one more place to eat.

If you do decide to visit Buddha’s Veggie, I hope you like the dim sum dishes. And to keep Chef Lau working hard, tell him if you enjoy the food or tell him if you think the dishes can be impoved.

The following is my English interview with Chef Lau talking about Buddha’s Veggie, his experiences as a chef and the 7 types of dim sum we had this past week.

Chef Lau's restaurant Buddha's Veggie (Fusion 菜) info

Calgary Herald’s review, “Buddha’s Veggie Restaurant“.

*******

May 22, 2010 Update: Had a great dim sum lunch at chef Lau’s restaurant again today. Repeated some of our favourites we tried and loved last time like Supreme Shrimp Dumplings, Fish Roe Siu Mai, Honey Comb Tofu, Chiuchau Fangor, and Mayonnaise Crispy Rice Rolls. We also tried chef Lau’s new creation: Abalone Siu Mai. I am happy to see chef Lau creating and trying new recipes. The sight of a whole (very tiny) abalone sitting on top of a Siu Mai is quite pleasing to the eyes. (sorry, I didn’t bring a camera) At the same time, the tasty but more chewy texture of an abalone is tough to mix well with Siu Mai. So I look forward to chef Lau creating more dishes over time, and adding some of the really good ones to the regular menu over time.

When I saw Chef Lau put his heart into his creations, it reminded me of the similar steps taken by the likes of Gordon Ramsay as expressed in his book “Three-star Chef” which I borrowed from the Calgary Public Library.

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NOTE: All food review ratings are based on the initial date of review. Food quality may improve or deteriorate over time. Feel free to share your personal experience (respectfully) in the comments section.


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