Last week we went to Vancouver for a short trip and as usual, we made a point to schedule our days around which restaurants we wanted to try.  We heard that Kirin Restaurant (which has multiple locations) gets quite busy and when we tried to get a table for dim sum last February we were turned away.  So this time we reserved a table weeks in advance for dim sum and were comfortably seated at a table next to the window.

At Kirin the server takes down your order and brings you the baskets of food, so those who want the experience of ordering from the roving carts may feel slightly disappointed.  However, the food more than makes up for it.  All the dim sum we had ranged from good to amazing; our favourites out of the savoury dishes were the shrimp dumplings (har gow), sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf (nor mai tai), and BBQ pork puffs (char siu soh). 
Shrimp dumplings (har gow)

Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf
BBQ pork puffs
We found the pork and chive fried rolls to be unique, but I'm not keen on deep fried dim sum so it wasn't my favourite.  The pork dumplings (siu mai) was good but not overly special in comparison to what we have in Calgary.
Pork and chive fried rolls
Pork dumplings (siu mai)
The noodle wrapped donut roll was a little disappointing, in that the texture was chewier and harder than what you would expect a fresh Chinese donut to taste.
Chinese donut wrapped with noodle served with peanut and hoisin sauce
Our little S loves any dish with noodles so we ordered a scallop e-fu noodle stir fry.  The dish was surprisingly free of the gratuitous oil that usually accompanies a stir fry noodle dish which was perfect for our toddler.  The adults enjoyed the tender scallops, bean sprouts and the flavour of the chives.
A dim sum classic are the egg tarts which were very good here at Kirin.
Egg tarts
We had done some research ahead of time and knew we would be getting two things for sure; the durian mochi and the thousand layer cake.  Both lived up to our expectations.  The durian mochi was pillowy soft with a cold, sweet durian center that was not overly powerful.  Most people dislike the scent but I found it to be subtle and not at all offensive.  

The thousand layer cake, as the name suggests layers a sponge with a sweet egg yolk custard and coconut mixture.  It comes nice and hot and the portion is large enough to share.
Overall a great experience and we would recommend Kirin to anyone looking to try dim sum in Vancouver or Richmond.
Kirin Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we've already started thinking about what to cook for the holiday season.  If you're looking for an alternative to turkey or a side dish to complement your bird, here are five tried and true recipes from our blog: 

This recipe elevates the Thanksgiving ham with a delicious apple bacon chutney.  Both sweet and savoury, the chutney both compliments and adds another dimension to each bite of ham.  Recipe here.
This Italian 'strata' is essentially a savoury bread pudding flavoured with cheese, bacon, mushrooms and caramelized onions. Although not a traditional stuffing, this side more than makes up for it with the perfect blend of earthiness from the mushrooms, caramelized onions and richness of the cream and smoky bacon. Recipe here.
This recipe uses cornbread which gives the stuffing a wonderful texture and sweetness to balance the savouriness of the bacon and sausage.  The cornbread is also amazing for soaking up that puddle of gravy on your plate so you're guaranteed every bit of gravy goodness gets in your belly.  Recipe here.
If you're sick of the traditional turkey, here's a beef alternative.  This recipe is equally as satisfying as a turkey with the caramelized onion gravy and makes for fantastic left overs.
Recipe here.
If you're not a huge pumpkin fan, here's a different dessert to try.  I discovered a fantastic recipe for sticky toffee pudding last year and made it for Thanksgiving.  The cake is moist from the dates and the toffee sauce rich and decadent; needless to say, it was a hit.  Also, I feel like baking anything in a bundt pan makes your creation ten times more impressive.  Recipe here.
We hope these recipes were useful and at the very least gave you some inspiration for Thanksgiving this year!
Overall - 7.5/10
Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10

Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Overall - 9/10
Food - 9/10
Service - 9.5/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Carino Riserva Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Stir fry recipes are all about throwing your ingredients into one pan or wok and cooking them up in under 15 minutes and serving it hot over rice or noodles.  Here are five of our stir fry recipes that will be ready in no time on those busy nights.

Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry
What makes this stir fry so delicious is the aromatic Thai basil which enhances the chicken and savoury fish sauce.  With the addition of fresh squeezed lime juice, this dish is a Thai favourite of ours.  Recipe here.
This stir fry is particularly appetizing with the sweet and sour pickled cabbage and gives the dish a slightly crunchy texture along with the beef and onions. Recipe here.
While this dish isn't technically a stir fry, it is still as easy to make and requires just one pan or wok.  These little omelettes full of Chinese BBQ meats and fried veggies are so easy delicious over rice and if you can't get Chinese BBQ pork, any meat can be mixed into the eggs to make this dish.  Recipe here.
Mapo Tofu:
Mapo tofu is fantastic on top of rice and the spicy flavour of the chili oil and XO sauce can be addicting.  This is one is for all the tofu lovers out there!  Recipe here.
Black Pepper  Beef Stir Fry
This popular dish is a classic Chinese dish often served in restaurants on a sizzling cast iron plate.  The aromas of the cilantro infused beef and mushrooms are just as good as it tastes.  Recipe here.
Overall - 8/10
Food - 8.5/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Rodney's Oyster House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
This pizza was created for the YYC Pizza Week 2015 Blogger Challenge and it's a fantastic one at that.  It is our opinion that you can never have enough duck; enter the 'Duck Duck Deuce' pizza. This doubly decadent duck creation is the perfect way to herald in the cooler months.  It features earthy morel mushrooms, ricotta, tender duck confit and duck rillete-foie gras quenelles atop a foie gras spread.  The sweet and tangy fig-balsamic reduction and fresh pea shoots balance out the richness.  This luxurious pizza is surprisingly easy to re-create as we document below.

YYC Pizza Week is an annual fundraiser for Calgary Meals on Wheels where restaurants across the city enter into a friendly competition for best pizza in several categories.  We have submitted our "lucky" duck pizza in hopes of victory. Please visit the YYC Pizza Week website for full details and vote for us!
Duck confit is a favourite of ours- the rich, moist and tender meat makes this way of preparing duck ultra luxurious.  If you have enough time on your hands, it's also surprisingly easy to make.  Duck confit is wonderful on its own but can be used in salads, ravioli and even pizza.