After eating raw oysters for the first time at the Boathouse in White Rock, I have been looking for other good oyster places. After hearing about Ebisu’s happy hour menu including sushi and drink discounts as well as $1 oysters, I had to go check it out!

The happy hour menu is only available at the downtown Robson location, between 4:30 and 6:30pm.

The first time that I went was on a weekend at 6pm, and it was really crowded and dark inside the restaurant so I didn’t take any pictures. We ordered sushi, sashimi, nachos, chicken wings, and oysters. The sashimi was a disappointment. It was actually nigiri sushi. The sushi were small and plain and with the happy hour menu, I guess the price was okay, but at original price definitely not worth it. Jalapeno shrimps looked great in the picture, but in reality were just a handful of deep fried shrimps on a huge pile of fries. Nachos were the only thing that filled us up that night. The oysters were great though, and the chicken wings were not bad either, so I went back to Ebisu a second time with Mochi to get those again as well as take some pictures.

We arrived at 4:30pm, and it wasn’t busy at all, which was nice. I found the place to be too loud and crowded for my liking the first time I went.

Mochi and I only had one thing in mind: raw oysters, and so right off the bat we ordered 20 oysters as well as a pint of honey lager.

Raw Oysters - $0.99/oyster

The oysters tasted very fresh, and they also provided Tabasco sauce, green onion, and the usual oyster sauce for taste. I thought the plating was very nice, and putting the oysters on a bed of ice keeps them cool and fresh. Mochi informed me that the oysters at the Horseshoe Bay Boathouse has even better sauce, so I must try that next!

Honey Lager - $3.99

There’s not much to say about this one. I’m not too knowledgeable when it comes to beer. To me, beer is beer. It was good though!

After having all that, we decided to order 10 pieces of chicken wings since I thought it was pretty good last time. I forgot to take a picture until there were only two more left! Apologies for the bad picture. ><

Chicken wings with honey garlic sauce - $0.39/wing

The wings here are different than the chicken wings that I am used to. I am used to eating the soft kind that they serve at Boston Pizza, but these taste crispy because the wings have been fried prior to being dipped in the sauce.

Overall, I would go back to Ebisu for their oysters and wings, but I wouldn’t want to get their sushi and “sashimi” again. There are better sushi elsewhere, but not everywhere serves oysters for only $1/pc!
Ebisu on Robson on Urbanspoon

Happy Easter!

How did everyone spend the Easter long weekend? I made egg tarts and studied for final exams. :)

Egg tarts are so easy to make if you buy the pre-made tart shells. Pre-made tart shells are very cheap at SuperStore (the no-name brand). It only takes a few minutes to whip up the egg tart filling (milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs) and pop them into the oven for a delicious snack!

I’m going to make Portuguese egg tarts after I buy some cream. I already have puff pastry in the freezer (there was a sale on tart shells and puff pastry). They’re quite unhealthy because they are just laden with butter and cream, but I still love them nonetheless! I just won’t eat them that frequently.

Yummy egg tarts!

Baking helps me to de-stress, so I tend to bake a lot during exam time. :P

Midam Rice Cake House

Last time SarahBear, IKo and I were deciding on a place for dessert when SarahBear suggested Midam Rice Cake House. I have heard MilkTea mention it before, and it received good reviews on Urbanspoon, so we decided to give Midam a try.

The address on Urbanspoon says that Midam is in Burnaby, but it is actually more in Coquitlam. I have never travelled to Coquitlam via the skytrain before, so it was quite an interesting experience! Midam was located just a few minutes walk from the skytrain station, and it’s located in Korean Town. There are many Korean restaurants, as well as H-mart (I only knew about the Downtown and Aberdeen H-marts! Didn’t know that there was one there as well~). It took us a while to find Midam, because it’s kind of hidden away in a corner. If you are looking for it, just follow the sign located above H-mart.

Entrance to Midam Rice Cake House - Just follow the sign (and the sakura symbol!)

There was only one other table in the large restaurant since it was a cold and rainy afternoon. Upon entering the restaurant, I felt like I was stepping from Canada to Korea. The tables and chairs were all made of wood, and there were wooden cabinets inside the restaurant and against the walls. There were Korean clothing hung up on the walls, and cute replicas of rice cakes.

Interior of Midam Rice Cake House

Rice cake models on display

Tiny toy models on display

More rice cake models

We were seated promptly and given menus. Midam offers a variety of different parfaits and shaved ice, as well as drinks and savoury items (hot pot).

Dessert Menu (page 1)

Dessert Menu (page 2)

Unfortunately I did not get a picture of their shaved ice menu.

While browsing through the menu, I saw a red button on the table and wondered what it was. SarahBear told me that it was a call button used to call a server over to the table. IKo also told me that Japan had these call buttons too. I think that it’s an ingenious idea! If only all the restaurants in Canada can also adopt this idea, then I would never have to worry about not being ready when the waiter comes by to ask for orders.

Call button to summon the server

Now onto the actual desserts:

Chocolate Pudding Parfait $5.37

This was my order. It consisted of a layer of chocolate pudding, some cornflakes, vanilla pudding, more chocolate pudding, topped off with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, a slice of banana, and a piece of milk chocolate. The pudding tasted very normal (like the packaged kind you would find in a store), so there wasn’t really anything special about this parfait. If I go back to Midam, I will definitely order something else.

Green Tea Parfait $6.99

IKo ordered the green tea parfait. It was topped with green tea ice cream, some rice cakes and sponge cake chunks around it, and filled with red bean and more ice cream. It looked really good and IKo said she enjoyed it a lot!

Green Tea Shaved Ice $8.99

This one was SarahBear’s green tea shaved ice. It was a bowl of shaved ice, topped with red bean, walnut pieces, condensed milk, and a scoop of green tea ice cream. The shaved ice was surrounded by chunks of handmade rice cakes dipped in green tea powder. This looked very good and I will probably order this the next time I pay Midam a visit!

Overall, I felt like the parfaits were a bit pricey, but compared to Chicco downtown, the prices here are a lot more reasonable. It is impossible to find cheap Korean or Japanese food in Vancouver, so I think Midam Rice Cake House pulled it off quite well! Next time I want to try their Korean hot pot as well.

Midam Rice Cake House on Urbanspoon

HST: Before or After the Discount?

In my last post I talked about how Fairmont Vancouver and DealFind are not making it clear to consumers as to WHY they are charging the 12% HST on the original value of $76 instead of on the discounted price of $38.. Well, I actually took the time to find out (unlike DealFind), and it turns out that they might actually be CORRECT, and that tax should be charged on the actual value ($76 in this case).

This is because the vouchers are essentially like “gift certificates”. Tax is applied onto the original value, and then the discount is applied onto the final bill.

Refer to CRA’s link here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/gnrl/txbl/cpns/gft-eng.html

HOWEVER, this does NOT mean that DealFind and Fairmont are 100% correct.

Last year Fairmont offered the deal, with tax applied to the discounted value. They probably found out later that they messed up, and therefore did not want to do the same thing again this year. However, instead of admitting to their mistake when people inquired, they decided to avoid the topic altogether. DealFind probably knows about this as well, and instead of providing customers with solid answers, decided to copy/paste the same answer over and over again: “The taxes and gratuities paid on the $76 dollar value is because it is a food service and this is the government regulation for taxing.”

What government regulation? Where is the evidence? People are not concerned because it’s going to be costing them an extra $4.50 to enjoy the afternoon tea, but because there are over 13,000 vouchers sold, so if the tax should only be on the discounted price, who/where is the extra tax going towards??

I believe that this is the correct interpretation of the whole tax issue around Fairmont and DealFind’s current deal, but please leave me a comment below if you think otherwise. :)