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Cherry and I took a day trip to Vancouver yesterday and had a recommendation to eat at Pinpin, if we had the chance. Although the sign says “Filipino-Chinese Cuisine”, it’s definitely a 100% Filipino restaurant. The Chinese refers to a few “Chinese style” dishes in the back of the menu that are still very Filipino. With two locations in British Columbia, we went to the Surrey location, which was pretty big and quite clean upon entering. We were greeted, immediately seated and eagerly browsed the menu.

 

The Food:

 

 

bagoong rice 1

bagoong rice $9.95 ca

The bagoong¬† rice(pronounced “bah-goh-ong”) looked intriguing so we had to order it. Bagoong is essentially a fermented shrimp paste that is heavily mixed with salt. It is a very common ingredient is Filipino food. When it came out, it looked like a Filipino version of Bimbimbap, a Korean rice bowl with all the toppings neatly organized atop for you to mix in. This bowl came topped with diced tomato, red onion, green onion, scrambled egg and slivers of mango. The rice had a pink tinge to it from the bagoong paste. When mixed, all of the ingredients came together nicely. The red and green onions provided a bright and sharp bite while the tomato and mango added creamy, sweet and earthy tones. Egg always makes everything better so no need to get too detailed about that. If you’ve ever had bagoong by itself, then you know it packs quite a punch, which is what I was expecting. However, the rice had a nice delicate flavor of the fermented shrimp paste that worked very well. One thing worth noting is that the serving size of this bowl was HUGE and we weren’t complaining ūüôā

 

 

pork sisig 1

sisig $11.5 ca

We were recommended their sisig which is the Filipino “sizzling plate.” Pork sisig is the universal version and comes with chopped and fried pork mixed with onion and topped with lemon slice. The sisig at Pinpin was seasoned well and really showcased rich flavors of the fried pork. One thing that stood out was how crunchy it was – there were bits that was borderline rock hard. Those with fillings or any kind of dental work best heed caution. Another thing I noticed was lack of any substantial pieces of pork. This was pretty much sizzling plate of diced chicharr√≥n. I literally pressed a piece with my finger and it broke down to tiny specks of coarse sand. The sisig I’ve had in the past actually had discernible pieces of pork.

 

inihaw na pusit $10.5 ca

The inihaw na pusit is their grilled squid which was also my favorite dish. The squid was perfectly grilled with great texture and bite. The bbq glaze had a good balance of sweet and savory that complimented the dish well. There was also a small cup  of vinegar you use as dip, which did an excellent job countering the sweetness of the glaze. There are three different size of the inihaw na pusit (small, medium, large) and we ordered the small Рwhich was more than enough to share between two people.

 

Conclusion:

We walked out happy and full. The food was delicious and the service was great. There was always a server at our table the moment they saw our water was low or when our table needed clearing. With an expansive menu that we virtually walked away untapped, we’ll be back soon to explore more of their offerings.

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On our latest PDX trip, Cherry and I hit up three extremely popular spots for food… and we did some sight seeing too.

 

Podnah’s Pit

Located in the middle of a residential street on NE Killingsworth, Podnah‚Äôs ¬†Pit is a popular BBQ spot in Portland, that‚Äôs also been featured on Food Network‚Äôs Diners Drive-Ins & Dives. There was already a good sized crowd waiting outside as we pulled up and we ended up waiting about 30-minutes before we were seated. As soon as we were seated, we got the unfortunate news that they were out of ribs for the night ūüė¶

 podnahs outside

crowd of hungry peeps

 

podnahs brisket sand

chopped brisket sandwich $11

Since there were no ribs, Cherry opted for the sliced brisket sandwich. Her first bite was a piece of meat that was falling out the side, which she stated was very dry. She actually had to take a sip of her  root beer to help get it down.  The meat carried a clean and lean flavor that worked well, but it was overly dry. There was a selection of various house-made sauces that Cherry had to take advantage of to help get through each bite. The coleslaw was bright and refreshing with nice heat from the diced jalapenos.

 

podnahs brisket plate

 creekstone farms brisket $16 + smoked hot link $3.5

¬†I went with the smoked brisket as well. The first thing I noticed was a nice smoke ring around edge of the meat. The brisket carried a nice smoky flavor and also cooked very well. Like Cherry’s sandwich, it was a dry, but I guess that’s what the table side sauces are for. I also ordered a hot link on the side which was extremely flavorful full of heat and not overly fatty like some sausages. My two sides were the collard greens and the green chili mac ‚Äėn cheese, which was the daily special. The greens were cooked perfectly and had a deliciously rich and earthy flavor. The green chili mac was also done well with just the right amount of heat from the green chiles mixed in with the cheese.

 

Big Ass Sandwiches

With two locations in Portland, Big Ass Sandwiches is a food cart that’s earned a ton of popularity and press!¬†We went to the 2nd ave location and got there a little before they opened (11am). It was a good thing too, because 10-minutes before opening 3 cars pulled up and a line started forming!

bigasssand outside

lil tin box

bigasssand richwich

the richwich: roast beef, bacon, grilled onions, fries, bechamel cheese $10

Cherry and I decided to split a sandwich and went with¬†the one that won the¬†Best Sandwich in the Northwest. We ordered it with turkey though, because Cherry doesn’t like roast beef. The sandwich had a lot going on from the large amount of crispy and savory fries to the pieces of bacon and onions thrown in the mix. The homemade bechamel cheese was awesome. It rich and creamy and did a very nice job blending all of the ingredients together. There wasn’t a whole lot of turkey in the sandwich and the thin slices that were present were a little dry for my liking. As a result, the turkey was lost in the shuffle. I regret not ordering their aardvark sauce in their sandwich, which is their secret¬†habanero sauce.

 

Kenny and Zukes

The powers of social media guided us to our last stop before returning to home to Seattle, Kenny and Zukes. Located on SW Stark St in downtown Portland, K&Z is a popular deli offering house cured pastrami and corned beef and fresh made bagels.  The wall of windows surrounding half the restaurant provided plenty of natrual light throughout the restaurant.

k&z pastrami fries

pastrami cheese fries $11.95

If gluttony decided to take form on the savory side of food, this plate would be it. Despite being smothered in an already rich and creamy melted cheese, the seasonings and brine of the pastrami was still very present. The fries were crispy and well seasoned and had an additional layer of flavor from the rub that came fell off the pastrami.

k&z reuben

classic reuben: corned beef, grilled kraut, swiss, russian dressing $13.75

Reuben Sandwiches are one of my favorite so it was it was a no brainer to order this. The reuben here was very good. Like the pastrami, the corned beef had great flavor and the brine they used has great balance. The bread was toasted nicely and all of the ingredients came together to provide great textures and flavors.

 

My Conclusion                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Podnahs:¬†Our overall experience with Podnah‚Äôs was favorable. The portions were filling and the flavors were on point. I don‚Äôt know why our brisket was so dry, but I‚Äôll chop this occurrence as an anomaly. The interior was clean and our server was friendly. One thing that cost Podnah‚Äôs some points in my book was how the table next to us ordered¬†after¬†we were told the ribs was sold out, but someone in their party still got ribs on their platter. I didn‚Äôt want to put up a big stink about it, but definitely felt it necessary to let them know. As we left, I explained what happened to our server and let her know our disappointment. She sincerely apologized and stated the kitchen must have had¬†‚Äúone last serving.‚Ä̬†

Big Ass Sandwiches: The¬†Richwich¬†is a tasty and well made sandwich. They’re definitely big enough to share with another person but I would have liked a little more meat in my sandwich. It’s more of a¬†french fry¬†sandwich¬†with the fixin’s added on. I do plan on visiting again in the near future and will get the aardvark sauce with my big ass sandwich. As far as winning Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in the Northwest, I know a few spots in Seattle¬†that would beg to differ!

Kenny and Zukes: Nice deli located in the heart of downtown Portland. The food is made with care and the ingredients are fresh. That being said, I’m not sure the prices are justifiable. $14 dollars for a reuben sandwich is very pricey, especially since its an extra $3 for fries or any of their other sides! I will say that our server was rad! He was extremely sociable, attentive and friendly.

 

 

 

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Cherry and I planned a weekend trip to Portland as a ‚Äúlast getaway‚ÄĚ before our baby comes. Yep, we‚Äôre having a baby this December! Portland is definitely the ‚Äúweird‚ÄĚ red-headed step sister to Seattle, with an abundance of uniquely northwest microbreweries and foodie spots. With only a limited amount of time there, here are the spots we visited.

1.)  Joe’s Crab Shack

joescrab.sampler

classic sampler $12.49

joescrab.sunsetgrilsteampot

sunset fire-grilled steampot $26.49

One thing I hate, is seeing commercials for restaurants and stores nowhere near your place or residence. Enter Joe‚Äôs Crab Shack. Nothing says foodie spot, like a national seafood chain but being the only one within 150+ square miles of Seattle, we made the exception to stop by as we drove down. Plus, years of seeing the commercials finally took its toll on us! Cherry and I shared a classic sampler and an individual order of the sunset fire-grilled steam pot. The sampler included crab dip, fried calamari and their ‚Äúgreat balls of fire‚ÄĚ which ¬†are panko breaded and deep-fried balls of seafood, crab, jalapenos and cream cheese. The calamari had a nice crispy breading and the crab dip was tasty. I liked the great balls of fire, but I would have like more heat. The steam pot had both snow and dungeness crab, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. The spicy seasoning provided nice heat and everything was well cooked with the focus of the pot, the crab, being fresh and sweet.¬† Joe’s is a fun place to bring the family, but it’s more expensive and you get less for your money compared to a place like the Crap Pot.

2.) Bridgeport Brewery

bridgport.beersampler

beer sampler $9

bridgeport.bbqchili

chipotle beef chili $8.95

With my growing passion for good beer, we attended a tour of Portland‚Äôs oldest craft brewery. It was awesome going behind the scenes to see how beer is crafted and what was especially impressive, was that they produce, bottle, and distribute their entire product on a staff of four! There‚Äôs even a laboratory in the back of the packaging floor where college students come as a part of their courses. A major point our tour guide and brew master emphasized throughout the tour is that for everything they make (beer & food), they practice the acronym: FLOSS, which stands for fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable ‚Äď I like that! After the tour, we got a small bite at the bar. Cherry went with their bowl of¬†chipotle beef chili ¬†which was hearty but lacked the bold flavors¬†of spice and worcestershire¬†normally associated with chili. I decided I‚Äôd rather drink my carbs and just ordered their beer sampler, which featured three of the year-round beers and¬†five seasonal. All of which were equally good in their own way, but their Hop Czar was too hoppy for my taste.

3.) Noodles and Co.

noodlesnco.bbqporksandwich

bbq pork sandwich $6.99

noodlesnco.indonesianpeanutsaute

indonesian peanut sauté $7.98

Interesting spot featuring a wide variety of made to order ‚Äúnoodle‚ÄĚ dishes ranging from spaghetti and meatballs to phad thai. Cherry went with the bbq pork sandwich and side of tomato basil bisque and I went with the indonesian peanut saut√©. The pork sandwich was surprisingly very good. The¬†meat was tender and flavorful on its own, but the slaw was lackluster at best. The bbq sauce also provided a nice pep to each bite. The tomato bisque was rich and had a nice balance of tomato and basil. My noodles¬†weren’t¬†that great, keep in mind I‚Äôm a noodle snob and have high expectations when eating any kind of noodles. ¬†The flavors were bland and the chicken was dry. I was expecting the flavors of ‚Äúspicy peanut sauce‚ÄĚ to at least be present, but instead this dish was a haphazard attempt at something¬†“Asian.” The only positive thing I can say about that dish is, I wasn’t hungry anymore after I ate it.

4.) Mother’s Bistro

mothersbistro.entrance

entrance

mothersbistro.floor

busy breakfast service

mothersbistro.applesausagescramble

pork apple sausage & cheddar scramble $9.95

mothersbistro.joesscramble

joe’s scramble

This spot has received a ton of positive feedback from the ‚Äúfoodie‚ÄĚ world and I was extremely¬†eager to see for myself what the craze is about. As I parked, I saw a line out the door and a mob of people waiting outside. I immediately¬†felt a disappointingly warm smile creep across my face, like a child that was just given time out in their room‚Ķ full of video games and toys. The wait¬†wasn’t¬†bad for a 2-top though, only about 30-minutes. I think another big reason for the unusually large amount of people was due the fact that the Portland Marathon was also that morning. Many runners ready refuel their bodies with a carb-loading session after a cruel and self-punishing run. Cherry went with the pork apple sausage & cheddar scramble.¬†As usual, in Portland fashion, everything used is fresh and local and you can really taste that. The scrambled eggs had an almost creamy texture that held everything together nicely. The apple sausage was both savory and sweet and¬†wasn’t¬†greasy at all.¬† The breakfast potatoes were cooked perfectly and had nice subtle flavors of the herbs they used. I ordered the daily special which happened to be a joe’s scramble¬†that featured their house-ground natural rib-eye. Everything came together wonderfully to provide a great dish. Often overlooked during breakfast is the side of bread that usually accompanies the dish. The wheat bread at Mother‚Äôs Bistro definitely cannot go unnoticed. It was unique in that each bite was clean almost like a cracker, but you knew you biting into toast.

My Conclusion:

Portland is such a spunky and quirky city that I almost want to drive down every weekend to try a new spot! Cherry and I have come down at least once a year for the past few years and always discover something different. I‚Äôll leave you with a photo I took at Roloff Farms of Cherry‚Äôs baby belly‚Ķ hope¬†you’ve¬†enjoyed!

cherryandpumpkin

30-weeks and counting!

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Continuing on from my previous post…

After a food-coma inducing lunch, fast forward 5-hours where we meet up with our cousins and hit up the Summer Night Market (not to be confused with Richmond Night Market.) They are open in the summer months from May until September every Friday & Saturday from 7pm ‚Äď 12am and on Sundays 7pm-11pm. Located in the industrial part of Richmond, right on the banks of the Fraser River is a foodie‚Äôs and bazaar lover‚Äôs paradise ‚Äď literally countless booths of both food and goods. You could be eating a plate of BBQ squid while shopping for hand-knit beanies from Ecuador, cell phone covers, socks and jewelry, then turn around¬† and watch local musicians and performers showcase their talents on the main stage. One year they even had a ‚ÄúReptile Man‚ÄĚ with live snakes, lizards and other reptiles and amphibians on display!

entrance into a foodie’s playland

The Food:

 top wok

chow mein & assorted dim sum $6.50

 

Strictly on portion size to price, the chow mein plate at Top Work¬†is the best deal in the market. You get a gigantic portion of freshly made chow mein and four pieces of fresh dim sum (2 shao mai & 2 xia jiao.) The chow mein is simple and fresh. From a flavor standpoint, nothing fancy just soy sauce and some veggies but the fact that you can see everything being prepared and cooked before you is very appealing. Their dim sum is also tasty and filling. The xia jiao or shrimp dumpling wrappers were perfect – translucent but thick enough to maintain integrity and not break upon picking up. Both the shao mai¬†and xia jiao¬†were flavorful and ample meat filling ‚Äď much better than some restaurants that specialize in solely dim sum. There‚Äôs an option of having ‚Äúnon-spicy‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúspicy‚ÄĚ sauce brushed atop before they serve you. I went with ‚Äúspicy‚ÄĚ but it lacked the heat I was looking for, hence the drizzling of Sriracha sauce.

the original hurricane fries

potato preppin’

parmesan garlic/white cheddar  1 for $3 or 2 for $5

¬†cherry gettin’ ready to chow down¬†

One of the more visually interesting and appealing things offered here. A hurricane fry is literally a whole potato that‚Äôs been skewered and then cranked through, for lack of a better word, spiral looper and then deep fried. You then get a choice of about 15 different flavors of which they dip the outside layer in. The result, a freshly made potato chip that was literally a whole potato five-minutes prior. These hurricane fries are thickly cut and fried perfectly ‚Ästproviding a crunch but also maintaining a soft middle. You can choose two different flavors for each potato, we happened to go with milder¬†white cheddar &¬† bolder more savory¬†parmesan garlic – which resulted in a delicious combination.

ef . tee

crispy pork belly crepe 1 for $4 or 3 for $10

When I think of a crepe, I think of a light and slightly sweetened batter that is evenly cooked and thin with various fillings wrapped inside. At ef.tee,  they took a different approach using a chinese pancake Рslightly thicker and more savory. If you asked me, it looked more like a taco. The filling used was a combination of crispy pork belly, sautéed bean sprouts and a little hoisen sauce underneath. The pork belly was tender and moist while the skin had excellent crunch and provided a great bite. The combination of meat, bean sprouts, and hoisen sauce reminded me of mu shu Рimmediately being transported back to my my childhood when my grandmother would make it for family dinners. Despite some misleading wordings, the final critics are the taste buds, and these critics were thoroughly pleased.

dan dan’s smokehouse

firin’ it up!

 beef enoki 3 for $3 or 6 for $5

At Dan Dan’s Smokehouse, they were serving¬†a variety of¬†BBQ influenced comfort foods; pulled pork sandwhich, nachos, BBQ turkey legs and beef enoki? Aiming to try something unique and not commonly found, I went with the beef enoki. Enoki mushrooms wrapped in short ribs and grilled¬†on a cast iron plate with a minor amount of BBQ sauce squirted¬†on top as a finishing touch.¬†The beef was cooked perfectly and had a little char on the outside that provided nice texture. The mushrooms were well cooked and provided an additional layer of texture with also a mild crunch. The BBQ was mild and highlighted the main ingredients nicely without overpowering everything. If you ask me, any time you see an Asian man sportin’ a Cowboy hat, you’ll never be disappointed!

happy lemon

“no sugar 100% natural”

¬†enjoying my lemonade while groovin’ with the band

One of the more overpriced stands at the market, but after an hour or two of walking around and stuffing your face, nothing satisfies like a big cup of ice cold lemonade. At Happy Lemon, they offer five different flavors, and they’re all equally satisfying (I’ve had the strawberry and limeade in the past). The passion fruit flavor, although present was heavily overshadowed by the extreme tartness and sourness¬†from the lemon, which was as subtle as¬†a gong going off during a Church Service. I personally enjoyed it – I love sour/tart candies. Cherry on the other hand, can’t hang so she deferred most of it to me ūüôā One thing I found misleading is how they advertise their lemonades as “sugar free 100% natural.” They must place the huge gallon pump jugs of artificial flavors in an exclusion list.

some bbq skewers: too full to try ūüė¶

sea of hungry patrons

 more booths and more people

view of sunset on the banks of the fraser river

cherry sportin’ a rainbow robbery mask –¬†handmade from ecuador!

My Conclusion:

Summer Night Market has been etched into our summer musts for the last three summers and rightfully so. The food is cheap, selection is vast and the scene is ever growing. Also, the waits for food were surprisingly short Рeven with the mobs of people bustling all over, each booth manages to get you in and out quickly. Must be that Asian work ethic, eh!? Despite pushing the physical limitations of our stomach to the brim, Cherry and I were unfortunately only able to sample a fraction of what is offered here. If you ever decide to partake in Summer Night Market, you need to bring two things; cash and your appetite!

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