Tag Archives: Canada

ICHIRO JAPANESE RESTAURANT – 12011 2nd Ave, Steveston, Richmond, BC, Canada, (604) 277-1150

5 Apr

PRICE: $10-15 per entree

It’s that time of year again.  The changing of seasons.  Another asthma season for me.  Stuck on the couch, at home in an exhaustion-induced coma, I really don’t want to move at all right now.  Each breath feels like a push-up, and I’ve been doing these push-ups non-stop for almost two weeks now.  Exhaustion is my middle name.  At this point in time, I hate social events, but there is one type of social event that I will drag myself to regardless of how I’m feeling.  Birthdays.

It’s somewhere around 6:30-7:00pm and it’s getting pretty close to the dinner date, which is starting at 8:00.  I’m staring at myself in the mirror, bleary eyed, tired, and hating everything that moves or breathes.  Especially anything that breathes without an asthmatic condition.  I’m resentful of that.  Just a little, though.  I’m using positive reinforcement, Jedi mind-tricks, and relative thinking to try and pump myself up to go.  I eye myself in the mirror.

“At least you don’t have to go to the ER anymore.”

This pep-talk sucks.  I think of something else to motivate myself to go.

“JUST FRICKIN’ GO!  IT’S A BIRTHDAY!!!”

Alright.

I try to put on something that looks nice.  T-shirt and jeans?  My fashion sense was never my strong suit, especially when I’m feeling like this.  Ehhh, whatever, T-shirt and jeans it is.

I drag myself to the bus-stop.  Get in.  Ride. Get out.  I walk around aimlessly in Steveston, trying to find this place.

Steveston is the little fishing village at the end of Richmond, a Municipality close to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  It’s widely known for its charming little small shops, a wharf, and an abundance of Japanese-Canadian culture.  An incredible Japanese restaurant, Ichiro, has opened up here, and my birthday host has chosen this place as the gathering point.

I finally find the place and meet up with the birthday crew.  We exchange greetings, and my mood starts to lighten.  We stand outside the restaurant for a little while and survey the place.  Simple arrangements decorate a pseudo-rock garden.  Christmas lights.  Little gold-fish dance in a stone bowl just outside the door.  A pleasing arrangement.

We enter and find ourselves standing atop a lacquered hardwood floor and wooden tables.  The kitchen is open, and leans to our left.  The lights are bright.  Windows surround us.  A nice place.

As we sit, the birthday banter starts to pick up.  We explore the menus and place our orders.  The wait time goes by quickly, and the entrees start to make their appearances on the runway.

The Sashimi plate leads the parade.  With an assortment of Tuna, Salmon, and Yellow Tail, the presentation looks pleasing and begs to be gobbled up.  A good appetizer.  Each bite from each of the respective ingredients is firm and fresh.  Also, just as important, is the fact that none of the cuts give off that disgusting aged fishy smell.  Good.

An innovative take on the traditional Agedashi Tofu dish arrives.  Branded the ‘Steveston Agedashi Tofu’, it pairs the familiar Golden Tempura-Cooked Tofu with Salmon, Shrimp, and Tempura Sauce.  A refreshing and interesting way of serving what is generally an excessively common and bland dish.

The Beef Udon provides a subtle but satisfying mix of Beef Soup Broth, Veggies and Udon Noodles.  Completely devoid of MSG, I don’t have to drink any water to get the dreaded starchy Monosodium Glutamate off my tongue.

A plate of Tuna wrapped in Cucumber and Rice, and drenched in crimson makes the next appearance.  Spicy Tuna Rolls provide a hot, mouth-puckering bite.  A little zing to our otherwise less intense dishes.

Crispy Rolls arrive.  Tuna and Avocado are wrapped together and are topped off with what appears to be Dried Noodle Bits.  A very unique dish that I have never seen before.  The Tuna and Avocado have a refreshing bite, and the Dried Noodles provide a crunchy finish.

“The dragon’s head is no match for my mouth.  I be-head the sucker, pop it in, and start chewing.”

Our server brings the next plate.  Slices of Barbecued Eel rest atop of Rolls made of Imitation Crab, Asparagus, and Avocado.  The pieces are all lined up in a rather peculiar way.  A head…a body…a tail…a dragon!  I guess the menu wasn’t lying when they called it the Dragon Roll!

I’m a little wary of this monster at first, jabbing it here and there with my chop-sticks.  Don’t wanna over-extend myself.  I’m trying to slay a dragon.  Finally I find its point of weakness.  The dragon’s head is no match for my mouth.  I be-head the sucker, pop it in, and start chewing.

The Eel has a sweet but slightly savoury flavour.  Chewy and slightly singed, it provides an excellent complement to what tastes like a modified California Roll.

After concentrating on giving the food the attention it deserves, I catch up with friends, and enjoy the birthday atmosphere.

I take a breath.

It still feels like I’m working the bench-press each time I inhale, but now I have a spotter.

Ichiro Japanese on Urbanspoon

NOOCH SNACK & CHILL – 6900 No 3 Road, Richmond, BC, Canada, (604) 284-5434

26 Mar

PRICE: $6-$12

Today I skipped lunch, which is something I absolutely hate doing.  Today I’m running from job to the next with almost no end in sight.  Fortunately I have a tiny 30-minute window which will allow me to eat.  Or so I thought.  Briskly walking through No.3 Road in Richmond, I make my way to Nooch Snack & Chill.  I’ve passed by it almost countless times on my bus trips to work, and I figure it’s high time I actually pay that place a visit.

While No.3 road sits as one of the most busy and prosperous areas in Downtown Richmond, the area in which Nooch is located is surprisingly dilapidated.  Ironic that such a neglected area stands right in front of City Hall.  Oh well.  Further musings on irony will saved for another time.  As I draw close to the entrance, I’m not really expecting a whole lot.  Maybe just a cheap sandwich joint staffed with illegal immigrants.

Opening the door, I am rather shocked to see the place so…well…CLEAN.  The walls are a sparkling white with red highlights to accent certain areas of the interior.  The building is spotless, the area sparse, but with pleasing artistic drawings, couches, tables and chairs sparingly placed rather tastefully.

“I used to have a classmate in high school that kept cheeseburgers in his pockets.  Seriously.  And this was before Napoleon Dynamite ever came out.”

A friendly smile emerges from the cash desk.  I’m hesitant.  I have no idea what kind of stuff this place serves, so the man behind the counter helpfully suggests the more popular dishes.  I choose one.

“Would you like that for here, or to go?”

“For here.”

A slight pause follows, followed by the explanation “Unfortunately we’re closing at 6:00 today, would you still like it for here?”

I glance at my watch.  It’s 5:45.

I sigh.  So much for enjoying a relaxing meal.  Ah well.  It’s either 15 minutes or nothing.  Sometimes you just gotta make do with what you have, and it’s either eat here real fast, or eat on the bus on the way home.

I do not like the idea of eating a meal on the bus.

I used to have a classmate in high school that kept cheeseburgers in his pockets.  Seriously.  And this was before Napoleon Dynamite ever came out.

I do not want to have that reputation with the people on the bus.

The decision is now obvious and easy.

“…I’ll just take it for here anyway…”  I wince a little as I say this.

I hate being that jerk customer that stays after-hours to bug service workers.  I work in a food court, and every time someone approaches me for coffee after the store has shut down, I feel like a little part of what makes me human dies inside.

Surprisingly enough, my host seems rather good-natured about it, offers me a seat, and gives the cook my order.  Ham and Swiss Cheese Panini.

As I do my usual rounds of picture taking, my host strikes up a little bit of small talk.  I try to explain to him that I’m really just a writer; I’m not trying to stake out the place.  Nothing to worry about here!

The food arrives pretty quickly.  I start ogling my plate.  Sourdough Panini Bread encases a layer of Ham and Melted Swiss Cheese.  Kettle-Boiled Potato Chips and Salad drenched in what appears to be a Balsamic Vinaigrette stand guard between the main course.  I dig in.

The bread is delightfully warm and crunchy; a welcome change from the gross soggy Oatmeal-like sludge that often passes for warm Panini Bread.  The Cheese is warm and thick, with a pleasantly mild tang.  The Ham…is I think Safeway Select.  Oh whatever, Ham is Ham.

The Salad’s Vinaigrette is light and easy.  The Vinegar is pleasant and offers a pleasant sour overtone, but overall is rather sweet.  The Vegetables offer a refreshing crunch. 

The Potato Chips are either Miss Vickie’s or Kettle Boiled Chips.  That’s fine, I like both brands.

I hastily down the meal as quickly as I can.  I’m the only one left in the restaurant at this point.  Ugh. I feel like that straggling, sickly Wildebeest (which always gets left behind in the group and dies) that you always see in those nature documentaries on Africa.  It’s 6:05.

Expecting to see a menacing frown on my host, I do my best to excuse myself.  He grins, seeming pretty chill about it, shakes my hand, gives me his name, and waves.

Well, Nooch Snack & Chill delivered on the chill part for sure. I guess even the sickly Wildebeest can have its place in the pack after all.

Nooch Snack & Chill on Urbanspoon