Monday, March 08, 2010

Mar 8th - Bowl of Stars, Collingwood - Vancouver and Bella Pizza, Fairview - Vancouver

Bowl of Stars: Hot and Sour Soup with Prawn and Fried Tofu (Mobile Phot0)Bella Pizza Vegetarian Pizza

I had lunch in the Joyce Collingwood area. I find it difficult to find a cluster of good places to eat in Vancouver (city) when you are much further south than King Edward and further east than Commercial. Outside this catchment, the restaurants start to spread out or get a bit dodgy. By dodgy, I mean unreliable. There are exceptions for places are blocks. Of course one of the exceptions being the Punjabi village on Main near Marine. I like some of the sweet shops down there. MMMMM

As I do not drive, I find it annoying to have to spend a day in an area and then faced with popping out for lunch, need to pick between crap or walking for a mile. Even driving is not ideal for a lunch hour. It is simply a waste of time. Therefore, it is nice to find a place that is reasonably priced for lunch that is has good quality food that you can start to think of as a default. This is a new place. It used to be a Bubble Tea place with an equally absurd name which I cannot recall. It does not matter anyway because I do not think I ever saw anyone in there ever. Odd location for a bubble tea shop anyway. It was located in mostly residential with some high street commercial shops, sandwiched between an Asian rug store and Abantu wig shop. What wayward Asian bubble tea drinker is likely to stumble in there? If that were me, I would sooner hop the bus to Metrotown. Thus, the henceforth nameless and forgotten bubble tea shop is no more. In its place is a Asian bowl place.

What is an Asian bowl place? Well, there is not much more too it than its moniker would suggest. They serve you bowls of food that are generally a fusion of a variety of South East Asian styles including, Chinese, Korean, Burmese, Thai, and so on. Almost all their main meal bowls are 7$. Oddly enough there is an entire section for 6.95$. I am not sure what the nickel is for but I splurged on it. I would normally worry about a place that 1. Did not alter its decor from the previous occupant and 2. covers such a wide gamut of dishes but this place keeps the selection simple enough that it is not half arsed. The menu is mainly in Chinese with some English titles and photos. You need those photos. Where would I be without those overexposed, slightly blurry, photos of noodle bowls? I normally ask what the difference is because it is pretty hard to decipher that from two identical photos titled 'Cilantro Fish Noodle Soup' or 'Burmese Fish Noodle Soup'. The server was happy to help and was able to articulate the differences very clearly in terms of flavours and ingredients.

I chose the Hot and Sour Prawn Noodle bowl. It came in a large bowl, not quite as big as some of the Korean places but big enough to be difficult to finish at lunch. It was a hearty coconutty, hot and sour broth filled with linguine sized rice noodles and loads of prawns. It was topped with fresh, crisp bean sprouts, cilantro, fried tofu and what I believe was dried fish flakes. The dried fish flakes, which looked almost like bacon bits, were the give away for where this dish was meant to be from. It was one of the few that did not suggest its origin in the name but the fish combined with the coconut, I would have to say it was meant to be Indonesian. All the ingredients were fresh and the soup was piping hot. I really liked it and the value was undeniable.

My companion had a Chicken Thai Curry. It looked and smelled good and he has ordered it a few times before. I thought it looked a bit dry. I, however, would have to recommend the noodle soups. I do not know that I would recommend a trip out there expressly for a visit but if you are there for whatever reason or your live there, I would suggest you try it.

Cost: $
Ambiance: Coffee or Tea shop-like
Service: Friendly
Value: Fantastic
Location: on the Joyce-Collingwood 'main' shopping street

Bowl of Stars
3608 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5R5M2
Tel: (604) 438-4288

Bowl of Stars Cafe on Urbanspoon

D was pretty exhausted by dinner. He got up at 5am to catch a plane back home from his ski trip to Tahoe. I dragged him out to look at a house after work today and he was fairly mute and / or incoherent. All he managed to blurt out was food. Since I had noodles for lunch and had had sushi, Asian was not an option. He suggested this Vegetarian Indian place but it is pretty chilly out and since he was already tired, I was envisioning having to walk home after and decided against it.

We ordered from Bella Pizza. I originally called the one downtown in Yaletown. It's a bit of an icon. D's office orders from there regularly. The pizzas are always super cheesy without being greasy. I don't know how they do it. Low fat cheese presumably. When I rung them, they told me I should call the one on Hemlock. Hemlock! That's just a few blocks away and I never knew it was there. Brilliant!

The toppings are generous and the pizza arrived piping hot. The only thing for me is that crust is a bit tough and bready. It arrived at about half and hour. D over tipped I think. It was like a couple of blocks away and I'll bet he didn't even check the bill to see if they already dinged us for a delivery fee like Panago does. I left money out with a tip but I heard him stall the guy at the door which can only mean that he went rooting around for another couple of bucks. Next time, I'll answer the door.

(order in)
2525 Hemlock Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 2V2

(604) 732-6565

We had the pizza with a Cedar Creek. It had a nice mellow aroma but it was a bit thin on the body and not too much personality. Though admittedly, it went really well with the pizza. MMM

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