Mak N Ming | Dining in Vancouver

Well what a treat this was! Last week, we visited Mak N Ming, voted best new restaurant of 2016 and we are delighted to introduce them to you all! Makoto Ono and Amanda 'Ming' Cheng are the owners of this French-Japanese fusion restaurant. The restaurant is in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Ono was the previous owner of Gastown's PiDGiN restaurant, and Amanda also came from the same establishment. The food is forever evolving and innovative. As our first time at Mak N Ming, we were spoiled with the chef's tasting menu - note there is only a choice of two set menus: the chef's menu being seven courses or their demi menu of four courses.

Our first bite was a smoked cheddar cheese ball - hot and a great start to the evening. Following, we had kombu cured snapper in tofu sauce. Then we treated ourselves to the additional course (because why not?). The feature was uni topped with a citrus yogurt & foam, miso compressed carrot and charcoal choux crumble - talk about WOW! The flavours worked so well together and the taste was like nothing we've ever had. We then had their mushroom chawanmushi (which we hoped was a little hotter), followed by pork chop with black truffle and cauliflower rice. Then as if that wasn't enough, we were presented with a Dungeness crab noodle soup - very well executed. Their bread dish of the evening was a seaweed crusted bun with spicy mayonnaise - a nice kick to the dish. The dessert was preceded by a pre dessert of a pistachio and honey cigar with milky hot chocolate - very decadent - the dessert feature was a hibiscus pear pavlova, which was refreshing, clean and tasteful. And to complete our wonderful experience, the chefs prepared petit fours of grapefruit pâte de fruits, chocolates and almond cakes. 

Be sure to order a bottle of sake from their drinks list and share with friends whilst tasting their menu. There's quite the selection of beverages at Mak N Ming, so make sure you pair to your dinner with some of their quality wines.

Let's just say, we will definitely be back again at Mak N Ming once the next menu is in! 

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Food: Smoked cheddar cheese ball, Kombu cured snapper in tofu sauce, Uni topped with a citrus yogurt & foam, miso compressed carrot and charcoal choux crumble, mushroom chawanmushi, Pork chop with black truffle and cauliflower purée, Cauliflower rice, Dungeness crab noodle soup, Seaweed crusted bun with spicy mayonnaise, Pistachio and honey cigar with milky hot chocolate, Hibiscus pear pavlova.
Made by: Mak N Ming
Location: 1629 Yew St., Kitsilano, Vancouver

Ganso!

Welcome to Brooklyn, NY. - home to many up and coming Ramen joints, and already well established ones too.

Ganso specializes in soy sauce based broths with their ramen. They make chicken wings (probably deep fried twice) that are finger-lickin' good. Belly pork buns with a korean twist and another set with short ribs. The food is great and the portions of the ramen are perfect (not too big and not too small). You could order a second if you're really hungry (I probably would if I was really hungry the day I went). If the egg in a bowl of ramen is important to you (as it is to me,) depending on what ramen you order you get a soft boiled or a really REALLY soft boiled egg... almost poached but not. There is a short rib ramen and the Ganso original (which is simply pork shoulder and pork belly like most ramen joints).  Moreover, there is a spicy ramen and what they call the "Stamina" ramen bowl, which consists of a chicken broth. You can take a look at their menu here.  On the way to the restroom at the back,  I spotted their fridge with all their sake products inside - not bad!

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I love Ippudo Ramen but Ganso has definitely made it into my good books. Gotta love ramen!

Kingyo Toronto

Not to be confused with Kingyo in Vancouver, Koji San recently opened Kingyo Toronto in Cabbagetown.

The second you walk into the large, open space, the glowing and flashy casino machines are the first thing that capture your attention. From Japan, these machines were flown in especially to create an old school feel with stone like walls. Pots of water, filled with little coy fish/goldfish are placed throughout the restaurant (be sure to check the one just outside the bathroom.) A large table also has its centre filled with water and more fish to look at.

The food as you can see, was super tasty and fun to look at. The presentation was impressive and the taste pretty much matched what you saw. Simple foods, turned into glamorous and delicious dishes. My favourite of the night came at dessert - the green tea brûlée was amazing!! I've had them before elsewhere but these ones were so true to the taste of proper green tea. Lastly, what topped my night off was the frozen grapes in a vase. I had no idea what I was looking at but flowers in a vase. But with a second take, I then came to realize, "wow! Grapes!" The perfect last touch to just clear your palette. Koji San, thank you for a wonderful and memorable meal!

Affordable and great location, Kingyo Toronto will definitely be a hit for a while. This city needs a simple, japanese restaurant that provides great products of all sorts: fish, vegetables, meat - you name it! Check them out here. 

Short and Savoury

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Sansotei Ramen is a new hot spot for ramen fans. Your choice of thick, thin or original Sansotei noodles and with different toppings. Your typical Pork broth with egg, scallions, and menma too! Menma is definitely a must with ramen for me, and I was pleased to finally see that Toronto is getting it right! The pork that comes with your ramen can also be chosen from  lean to fatty. Sansotei offers gyoza as well as takoyaki (octopus balls). Super reasonable for the large bowl of noodles you get and you have to get there early! Otherwise, go at off times (like the hours of 2pm-5pm). You could be waiting from 10mins to 45mins!! It's thumbs up for Sansotei - you guys will for sure be my go-to for a late lunch!