Friday, July 15, 2011 1

3:34 p.m. PST. Vancouver, Canada

Just rolled out of YVR, jumped in the Jeep and headed into town.  I am booked in a hotel just off the main drag and a block up from the port.

Headed into town I have noticed two things.  Vancouver is an exceptionally clean city, an example being that all the taxi's are Toyota Prius's, and heading into downtown is like Colonial between I4 and Bumby.  The Asian community is HUGE here, I am ready to eat.  Get to the hotel, throw the bags in the room and I hit the streets.  The weather is too nice and the city is too beautiful not to hoof it.  With all this culture on the mind, it is a must that we hit up some local influenced food. Korean it is!

So, I met up with a buddy of mine for this trip and he got in a day before me.  Word on the streets (he had been hitting up all the food stalls near the hotel) is for Korean food, "Sura Korean Cuisine," is the place to be.  Word! Here is why...

Bibimbap, Banchan (side dishes... complementary) 

Garlic Stems, tossed in Korean pepper paste, some soy and rice wine vinegar.  I have to tell you, this is my new favorite condiment.  Chimichuri, you have just been replaced!  This accompaniment is my new breakfast cereal topper.  To elaborate on the garlic "stems." They actually sold these in the markets, downtown Vancouver. (our equivalent to Whole Foods  So if you are growing garlic, you will see the growth of a stalk or "Scapes" and these my friends are where it's at! 

mmm...Kimchi.  What I loved about this particular kimchi, is that where ever they procured it, or if they have some grandmother fermenting it in her backyard, the spice/heat and taste of fermentation was spot on.  It is all about timing and balance and they nailed it.  Perfect to go with the tins of rice that dotted the table.

Gal-Bi: Korean BBQ style, short ribs.  This came to the table on a smokin' hot, cast iron sizzle platter.  I do not care how much you love Chili's, if this came to your table, you would throw away chain restaurants; forever! (more on chain restaurants in a later post.)  Sweet, smokey, fatty, and rich!  Need I say more?!? The only thing that this dish was missing was more chili garlic stems.  Now, usually you see hacked up scallions as garnishes on plates, but these painfully thin scallions actually offered up a subtle onion flavor that was perfect with the charred ribs.  Functional garnishes....imagine that.   

Kimchi Pancake:  Normally I would have ordered a seafood pancake at a Korean restaurant, but this was the first time that I have seen a variety of pancakes offered on a menu.  We were in luck, they ended up putting seafood in the pancake along with our kimchi...score!  You found the usual suspects in the pancake; octopus and shrimp.  Again, they are really winning me over with the accouterments.  The sauce they served with the cake was; scallions, garlic, soy sauce, and rice wine...done. 

Hit up a few more Asahi and then it was time to get lost in the city to see what I am getting myself into for the rest of the week.  

This picture was taken @ a quarter to!  It is going to be a long week. lol Time for bed.

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