Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cheap and Cheerful, Under $10: A Food Crawl

As we finished up our last food crawl, we made sure to set a date for the next crawl and The Leggy Redhead planted the seed for a "Cheap and Cheerful" theme. As we grew closer to the booked date, I started to draw up some guidelines and research. This would be a crawl with "looser" perimeters than the past crawls, which have typically had a narrow dish or ingredient focus.
*Budget for your stop is $10
*The Cheap Eat must be a dish/ meal you've never had before but want to try
*Try to pick good eats that will fill us up, get some bang for your buck
This was a tricky crawl for me personally….there were a tonne of places and dishes that I want to try for under $10, I was really overwhelmed while researching and I actually wasn’t even 100% which of my researched stops I’d be taking my fellow crawlers too when we disembarked for the night. It was a different crawl because we had a new crawler "The Frip", and we were missing our usual 4th, The Bad Jew, who cancelled last minute for a concert.

Bulgogi Sando ($8.49) Beef, egg sauce, kimchi, bulgogi sauce
Miura Waffle Milk Bar
Miura Waffle Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Miura is located on Davie, with no big signs and from the street it blends in with other stores around it so you might miss it (unless you are on a specific mission like we were). They have a menu full of sweet and savoury Waffle Sandwiches, but at Miura, they call them Sandos! This spot was The Frip's choice. The whole menu looked delicious and intriguing but she singled out their Bulgogi  Sando.
their whole menu looked delicious and intriguing. Everything is made in house. They make the waffles fresh to order, then assemble the sando.The saltiness in the beef and bulgogi sauce, the spiciness in the kimchi and the creamy egg sauce worked very well together. The waffle was nice and fluffy, and crunchy too; it sucked in some of the juices from the filling so it’s got some savoury favours as well. I really appreciate that the waffles are made fresh to order- it definitely ensures the quality.

The Frip: 
Miura... Bulgogi waffle...fantastic taste and texture on the waffle. Nice and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.  Great combo of beef, kimchi and the egg sauce brings it all together. Will be re-visiting this place to try the wasabi salmon...

The Leggy Redhead:

 I hadn't had a savoury waffle sandwich before.  The Frip chose the house special...egg sauce with kimchi and beef makes it spicy, salty and then somehow buttery creamy from the egg sauce.   Loved the combo.  I think egg sauce should go on everything!  Although fast food style, they made it fresh with love.  I'd definitely go back again.

Pupusas ($2.75 each)
Rinconcito Salvadorean
Rinconcito Salvadorean on Urbanspoon

The interior is basic with a handful of tables and chairs, some palms and a bamboo bar. This place was packed when we arrived, with a short line up. I took this as a good sign! After a short wait, we were seated at the bar, then moved to a small table. We each ordered a beer and an order of 3 pupusas (2 Revuelta with pork, beans, and cheese- and one bean and cheese). According to Wikipedia, pupusa is “a traditional Salvadoran dish made of a thick, handmade corn tortilla (made using masa de maĆ­z, a maize flour dough used in Latin American cuisine) that is usually filled with a blend of the following: cheese, cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency, refried beans, or queso con loroco (loroco is a vine flower bud from Central America)”. This was my first time trying pupusa and I liked it! Mixed filling pupusa with beans, pork and warm melted cheese snuggled inside grilled tortilla pocket, served with pickled cabbage and salsa. The outer shell was nicely made, because it was soft but slight crispy.They come stacked like pancakes and served with a vinegary coleslaw and mild tomato-based "hot" sauce. Some regulars were chatting with us and recommended that we rip the pupusas in half and fill them with the coleslaw and add the sauce, using the delicious slaw like a relish or sauce. I liked eating them like this because the acidity and veggie crunch cut down on the heaviness of the dough, meat, beans, and cheese.

The Frip: 
Papusa... They remind me of a cheese and bean filled fluffy corn flour pancake. The winning ticket is the pickled coleslaw and the mild spiced tomato salsa. Definately a meal fill for the cost.  Winning ticket is to cut it open and stuff with coleslaw and tomato salsa. There is just something about eating food with your hands :)

The Leggy Redhead:
Pupusas - Another first for me.  I've never tried Salvadorian food before, let alone heard of pupusas.  Super simple, yet really yummy.  Each bit on it's own, nothing stood out...but combine all the flavours(we received tips on how to eat it from the crazy Chilean(?) diners beside us)...awesome simple eats.   The sweet and; yet sour coleslaw mixed with the mellow hot sauce(spicy rather than hot) and then the stuffing inside the pupusa!  All about the combination of the flavours.  Nice surprise.

Sushi Pizza $8.95
Sushi Nanaimo
Sushi Nanaimo on Urbanspoon

I really like this place, I think its a gem. It's busy, with a high energy Izakaya feel and a delicious, well-priced looking menu with some really inventive sounding options. But we had a clear focus: Sushi Pizza. A bed of crsipy fried rice makes up the crust and covered with "toppings" like avocado, cucumber, tobiko, spicy tuna, green onion, and mayo. Essentially, its a lot of delicious ingredients together and it works. Great blend of flavours and textures (crispy rice, creamy avocado, tender tuna sashimi). A bit messy to eat. 


The Frip:
Sushi pizza.. Liked the concept and overall taste profile. Found the rice a little too thick. Would like to check out other sushi pizza avenues to see how they compare.  Liked the venue and the loud tunes!!!

The Leggy Redhead:

Sushi pizza- This one was my choice-  I love my sushi pizza at Sushi Yama so wanted to try somewhere new and close to home that gets great reviews...enter Sushi Nanaimo.   The chopped spicy salmon with the avocado, light sweet and salty Japanese drizzle and then the rice 'crust' -  tasty but overall the flavours were a little too mellow.  Always great to try somewhere new.   Lots of great looking dishes walked past us as we were dining.  Young hip crowd, prices super affordable and great presentation. I'd definitely go back to try other sushi dishes. 

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