Simba’s Grill

Since my short time here in Vancouver, I’ve slowly been picking away at the many restaurants lining either side of Denman Street. One that has stood out to me from day 1 has been Simba’s Grill – I don’t really know what “African Fusion” means, but I do know that I want to put it in my face.

I finally had the chance to put Simba’s African fusion into my face. And to get to the point, I think you should put it in your face too.

My lady and I ordered 2 entrees to share — the Kuku Choma, AKA grilled chicken tenders, and the Chicken Sura, AKA chicken bathing in a delicious creamy curry sauce.

IMG_0781Pictured above is the Kuku Choma. The chicken was wonderfully seasoned — a little spicy, a little salty, a lot good. It went really well with the tamarind sauce that was brought to our table with the order. There was also raw coconut and yogurt served alongside the tamarind, all of which could be dipped in any way you want.

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The stand out dish was the Chicken Sura, which we ordered with deliciously fresh naan. The creamy curry, combined with the raw coconut, yogurt (because more creaminess = more goodness), and Simba’s special hot sauce was the match of the century.

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My only regret related to my visit to Simba’s was that I didn’t order more food to try. I will most definitely be going back here. Food aside, it was pretty cool seeing head chef/owner Kurshid Khan bringing food to tables and checking up on his customers. He approached our table while I was violently shoving curry-soaked naan into my mouth, at which point he just said, “I’ll leave you guys alone.” A hint of well-earned cockiness.

Final word = go here.

Simba's Grill on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

 

Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen

I haven’t been as consistent of a blogger as I said. To be honest, I mostly keep forgetting to take pictures when I eat. I’m sorry…back to the regular scheduled program.

I recently tried out Gurkha Himalayan Kitchener on Davie Street — overall, I have a real love-hate thing going on with this place. Eating there was like a wild roller coaster ride.

My first thought was, “I love this place!” This is mostly because of the hidden patio that makes you forget you’re right in the thick of Davie’s hustle and bustle.

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So that’s amazing. But right away, my love was being tested. Despite there being only one other couple seated in the entire restaurant, the server took 10 minutes before she even took our drink order. Bummer.

Then, I asked for some recommendations. Himalayan food isn’t exactly the most common cuisine, and a lot of the menu items were completely new to me. The server seemed like she was making her recommendations up as she went…and she recommended pretty much everything.

I decided to start with Momos, a Tibetan style dumpling – my lady and I wanted to try the chicken and vegetable, so we got both. When these arrived, I loved Gurkha again.

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The momos were served with 2 sauces – a spicy tomato sauce and a cilantro-mint sauce. It was a refreshing change from the Asian-style dumplings that dominate Vancouver’s food scene.

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My love was strengthened when our mains arrived. We ordered the Sherpa Chicken and the Gorkhali Khasi (goat curry). The smells of these dishes were just insane.

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Despite how similar these two looked (the goat is the top image), the flavour of these dishes were quite different. The goat curry was extremely rich and heavy, with a really smooth flavour to balance it out. So good.

The chicken was the better of the two by far. It was perfectly spicy and the flavour just screamed from inside my mouth.

But…the love was challenged once more. There was probably 4 little pieces of goat in the Gorkhali Khasi. Maybe 6 little chunks of Sherpa Chicken. If you know me, you know I like a good bang-for-buck. Gurkha did not deliver that.

Overall – the food here is delicious. The setting is wonderful. The service is terrible. The portions are small. Would I come here again? I’m still thinking about those momos, so yes.

 

Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Japadog

I stayed true to my word…my culinary adventure through Vancouver has begun, and I will do my best to capture it.

ImageBack in the days when I had cable, I used to love watching the show Eat Street. Apparently, they film in Vancouver decently often, which makes sense – head downtown in this city and there’s practically a food truck at every corner. Right away I was drawn to Japadog – when I first laid eyes on the little stand at Pender and Burrard I thought, “that looks weird and awesome.” And apparently, this place was featured on Eat Street, as my step-mom informed me.

ImageI had to go for the signature dog, despite being drawn to a number of menu items here. The “Terimayo” is a pork hot dog with mayo, teriyaki, and seaweed. I gotta say, the combination of these flavours was a bit strange at first. The seaweed reminded me of sushi, which gave me a fishy connotation even though there was nothing fish related in my dog. Once I got my head around that, I realized how well these flavours meshed. As I anticipated, it was weird, but also delicious.

ImageWhile I don’t regret my choice at all (I HAD TO GET THE SIGNATURE DOG), I don’t think I would get it again. The hot/spicy, Croquette, and Tonkatsu all look amazing…one of those will enter my belly at some point in the near future I’m sure.

I also tried their “Shaked Fries” which are basically fries shaken up in a bag with your choice of seasoning. I picked “Shichimi and Garlic” – they were perfectly crispy, coated, spicy, and garlicky. I loved it.

ImageJapadog definitely lived up to the hype. I would for sure go there again. But it might be a while. There’s about 500 other food trucks in Vancouver that I’m going to have to try first.

First impressions – this city is great.

Head over to Japadog’s website to check out their menu and locations.

Japadog on Urbanspoon

 

Update

Just as quickly as I appeared in the blogosphere, I seemed to have disappeared. However, that’s not really the case. Here’s the deal.

I threw caution to the wind recently and decided to do something a little drastic. I up and moved across the country, leaving my little apartment in Waterloo, Ontario to live in a littler apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. I haven’t been blogging at all lately, because I’ve just been too busy. But fear not! I shall return!

And I will return vigorously. You know why? There’s a shitload of food to eat here in Vancouver. And I want to put all of it in my face. I’m finally starting to get a bit settled here, and I think I’m going to venture downtown to try a random food truck or something. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I have a lot of learning to do in regards to the music scene here. Now that I have the internet, I’ll keep my ear to the streets and scope out some musics. Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

The one with the fat fingers

King of the Dot – World Domination 4

Hi Friends,

Sorry I’ve been incognito for so long. I’ve been hard at work writing my master’s thesis, so contributing to my blog has been relegated to the back-burner for a bit. But things are starting to slow down, so I figured I’d make a post.

*segue*

What have I been writing my thesis about, you ask? Battle rap. Remember that Eminem movie where he insults people in rap form in order to prove his dominance on the stage? That sort of thing…

I won’t get into the academic stuff that I’ve been concerning myself with. I’m coming at this as more of a fan. A couple of weekends ago, I went on a solo mission to Toronto to visit King of the Dot’s “World Domination 4″ battle event at the Opera House. It’s being heralded as one of the best battle events ever, and I’m glad I got to see it first hand.

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As I’m sure you’ve been able to figure out by now, I’m a huge hip-hop head. For whatever reason, a lot of my rap associates don’t care for battle rap. I for one, think it’s pretty rad. These artists are not only super talented, but they have got to be the bravest people in all of hip-hop. In a genre where your value is greatly dictated by your persona, these rappers put everything on the line, setting themselves up to potentially have their personas utterly dismantled by opponents. There appears to be no boundaries in battle rap – EVERYTHING is fair game. Dead relatives, ex-spouses, disabled siblings – it all gets brought up and used as ammo. While I don’t condone in these types of things at all, something about it in the context of battle rap truly fascinates me.

This pseudo-review of a rap event has quickly transformed into a general discussion about battle rap. And I’m not sure how well I can actually review the event. It was great. There were some crazy good match ups that had me laughing and astonished simultaneously. If you’re interested, these contests get posted on YouTube, and have slowly progressed from crappy homemade style videos into polished, professional videos posted in high definition. While I’m glad I went to the event, I almost prefer watching them on YouTube. The sound is nice and clear, I get to sit down and eat/drink while I watch it. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old but I was pretty ready to go home at the end of the battle event I went to.

Some of personal favourites from World Domination 4 were Bonnie Godiva vs. Young Gattas – this was the first female battle in King of the Dot history (KOTD is the Toronto based league). Young Gattas won the Canadian crowd over, claiming that her opponent’s sexual promiscuity has resulted in her “pussy looking like poutine.” I know it sounds kind of juvenile but it was great. Maybe you had to be there. Arcane vs. Pat Stay was incredibly close and entertaining. And Rone vs. Real Deal was classic calibre. I’d be on the lookout for those videos – I believe KOTD has a schedule on their website of when the videos will be released. 

In the meantime, I’d suggest you head over to YouTube and search “King of the Dot” and watch a couple of these battles. It’s an underground movement that is becoming exceedingly popular, and has been cosigned by the likes of Drake, Diddy, Busta Rhymes, and a number of others. Get on it while it’s still cool.

Abdominal & The Obliques – A Brief History of the Chicken Wing

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Toronto musicians seem to have a thing with food. In the short time I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve already posted videos by Toronto rappers, Wordburglar and More Or Les, both of which were food-themed. Now, the Toronto underground rap staple, Abdominal, along with his band, The Obliques, release a hip-hop infused blues tune detailing the history of the chicken wing.

I’ve known of Abdominal’s existence for quite some time, but hadn’t realized his musical versatility until recently. If this is your first taste of Abdominal, you probably wouldn’t assume that he’s been a prominent rapper in the Toronto scene for well over a decade. This song not only sounds great, but its content pertains to one my absolute favourite food items – the chicken wing. And overall, Abdominal does this delicious pub grub justice…except for his approval of blue cheese sauce. I’m all about that ranch.

If you want to hear more of Abdominal’s stuff, head over to his Bandcamp page, where you can check out his recent project with The Obliques, as well as his early, rappier stuff.

More Or Les – Brunch Again

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Ask Toronto rapper More Or Les what the absolute best thing in the universe is. I bet he’ll tell you it’s brunch.

More Or Les first dedicated raps to brunch in 2006 on the song, Brunch, off the album “The Truth About Rap”. His next solo album was called “Brunch With a Vengeance,” in 2010. Now comes the song, Brunch Again, off his entirely food-based album “Mastication.”

The video features fellow Backburner Crew members Ghettosocks, Jesse Dangerously, Timbuktu, and Wordburglar, all of whom are depicted in rough shape after an assumed evening involving the excessive consumption of spirits. My personal favourite is Wordburglar – the bags under his eyes indicate that he probably wasn’t really acting when this video was shot.

Alternatively, the happy-faced, apron-clad More Or Les eventually offers his crewmates brunch, revitalizing each and every one of them. Funny concept, great song, and brunch is the meal of all meals. Check out the vid!!

As a side note, I recommend you listen to More Or Les’ Mastication album. The album has a lot of range, despite being a concept album. There’s albums includes everything from tunes that look into the exploitative ways of the sugar industry to songs that are basically just recipes. Food + Rap combo at its finest.