Motamachi Shokudo (Vancouver, Canada)

740 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC

Southern Californians and cold weather don't mix. It's like oil and water. To warm ourselves up, we decided to get some ramen. Vancouver has a very large population of Asians and as a result, Vancouver has tons of Asian restaurants to choose from. We heard good things about Motamachi Shokudo so we decided this was  the place to warm our bodies with some ramen.

Motamachi Shokudo is a small and narrow restaurant, but it has a nice design aesthetic to the restaurant. Wood and finished concrete cover most the walls and floors.

Nama-Shoyu Ramen (8.95)
We decided that we wanted to try out 2 different flavors of ramen. The shoyu ramen had a very clean tasting broth that was perked up by the veggies and the addition of an egg. The egg has a orange color yolk as opposed to the yellow ones that we are used to. This was a soft boiled organic and local egg from what we have been told.

New Generation Miso Ramen (9.45)
I am not exactly sure what makes this a new generation, but it was delicious. The broth was much more rich and fatty than the shoyu. I loved the addition of the corn to the ramen for an added sweetness and texture. 

I am not ramen expert, but overall we really enjoyed both our ramens at Motamachi Shokudo and would not hesitate to return on our future trips to Vancouver. Especially on a cold day!!


The Walrus and Carpenter (Seattle, Washington)

4743 Ballard Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107

"Best New Restaurants In America," "10 Best New Restaurants in America, " etc, etc, so on, and so on. These are just some of the kind words that have been written about the The Walrus and the Carpenter this past year.

Seems like nowadays the recipe for a successful restaurant is to be seasonal, market driven, have a strange location, little to no signage on the restaurant, strange name, and of course good food. The Walrus and the Carpenter has all the criteria above and more.

Back of the restaurant, or was it the front????  Not really sure.

Roasted Almonds – espelette pepper, sea salt (3)
A nice little snack to kick start our appetites. Didn't really need a kick start - we were already starving. The sea salt and espelette pepper added a salty and peppery flavor.

Marinated Olives (3)
Another little snack to nibble on while we waited for our real food to come out. The olives were nicely brined in a mixture of spices.

Chicken Liver Mousse with candied squash and dried cherries (10)
Pretty much anytime I see chicken liver mousse on a menu, there is a really good chance I am going to order it. The mousse was smooth as butter and delicious. I really enjoyed eating the mousse with the candied squash and the dried cherries.

Treviso Salad – apple, hazelnut, creamy dressing (8)
Treviso is an italian vegetable that is also known as "winter flower"; it is a red radicchio. The salad was slightly bitter due to the treviso but nicely balanced with the creamy dressing and the slices of apple.

Fried Oysters with cilantro aioli (8)
Looking around at other tables, it seemed as though everyone was ordering the fried oysters. The oysters were breaded in what seemed to be a cornmeal crust.  The texture and taste was a bit overly complex. I didn't really enjoy this one much.

Smoked Trout – lentils, walnuts, crème fraiche, pickled onions (10)
The various components of this dish really balanced and complemented each other.

Kale Gratin – gruyere, hazelnuts, tarragon (10)
This was my first encounter with a kale gratin. The flavor of the hazelnuts were really predominate in this dish.
Didn't love this dish nor did I dislike it.

Pumpkin Pudding Cake with espresso butter sauce and whipped cream (8)
This was a nice dessert to end our meal. Since it was freezing outside, the warm pumpkin pudding cake with its spices was a fitting dessert. 

I am not sure if The Walrus and the Carpenter really deserves all the high praise and attention that it has gotten. Overall, we did enjoy the food that we had, most notably the chicken liver mousse and the smoked trout dish. The restaurant space was beautiful and the ambiance were just right, but the food was not quite what we expected. 


Japadog (Vancouver, Canada)

899 Burrard St
Vancouver, BC

At first I was a little skeptical thinking, what's so special about these Japanese hot dogs? They can't be all that different from any other hot dog that we have had. Overhyped?? Wrong....

This little Japadog happened to be right on the corner of the hotel we were staying at, so it made it all the more convenient to sample these dogs. Fortunately for us, it was raining that day and as a result, this shortened the supposedly long lines considerably. 

The most popular of the dogs at Japadog would be the Kurobuta Terimayo. Kurobuta or Berkshire as Americans know it is the prized black pig. Similar to that Kobe Beef, Kurobuta is the best of the pig breeds. At $7.25, this better be a dang good dog. That is $7.25 with no drinks or chips, just the dog.

The Kurobuta Terimayo comes with Kurobuta hot dog, nori (seaweed) strips, and a teriyaki mayonnaise. We added a bit of the Wasabi mayo for a nicely added heat to the dog. The actual hot dog itself was juicy, flavorful and had a nice snap to it. I would say it's probably the best hot dog that I have eaten. The terimayo and wasabi mayo complement the hotdog and the nori strips add an extra dimension of flavor. This hot dog was delicious!!!

There was quite a bit of hype about the Japadog. Some saying it's just a hot dog and not worth the trip and some saying that it is all that and then some. I have to say that the hype is warranted. Although the hot dog is pricey for a hot dog, I would say it is definitely worth the trip to try it out.