Steveston Series IV: Sockeye City Grill

sockeye view

view of the pier from Sockeye City

Sockeye City Grill is one of the most popular restaurants at the Steveston pier. Especially on sunny days, their patio will be packed, and there will be lineups. Their fish and chips platters are always giant and look pretty good, but I prefer the other seafood dishes. 

 

crabcake

crabcake

 

For shellfish fanatics, both their Fisherman’s pot and seafood paella offer a variety of shellfish and other seafood, and I find both are quite substantial and can feed 2-3 (especially the paella- what they say serves two can probably serve 4):

pot

Fisherman's Pot

 

As for the other seafood, their fish is pretty ok, and you often get a big slab of fish. The pesto that comes with this halibut is really nicely done (I had ordered on the side):

Halibut

Halibut

 

 This is the wild salmon salad… Although I like their salmon, I find that the salad underneath is a bit plain:

Salmon Salad

 

Service is OK here, nothing out of the ordinary. They are happy to accommodate special requests on menu items. House bread comes with dinner, but it is just plain white bread. If you don’t mind sitting inside you don’t usually have to wait. But on a sunny day it’s worth waiting a bit to get a seat outside and watch the all goings on at the pier and out on the water. I’d say the seafood paella is one of the best dishes on the menu (just because I’m not at all a big fan of fish and chips). 

 

Sockeye City Grill

108-3800 Bayview Street, at the Steveston Pier

604-275-4347

Steveston Series III: Cimona Cafe

If you are feeling like a casual, down-to-earth meal, and pretty generous-sized, value-for-money deals, this is the place to go. Cimona Cafe makes the kind of food you can probably make in your own kitchen, so don’t expect anything fancy, but the quality will not disappoint. This place is like a homey diner. It is in a second floor/elevated log house, with a patio where you can watch the Steveston hustle bustle on Bayview Street from above. They’re really friendly here, and it feels like it is a family owned and operated little cafe, but don’t count on super speedy service, and on weekends they tend to be quite busy during brunch/lunch and there tends to be lineups. Have a little patience.

Many healthy options are offered on the menu: whole wheat wraps and breads, low fat dressings, egg white omelets, vegetarian dishes. It’s a casual spot with casual food but there are a lot of more “exotic” options too, and for a good price – Veal. Lamb. Sole. Halibut. Salmon. I’ve come here for dinner which I have enjoyed, but definitely find that it’s an awesome lunch/brunch place. Probably because breakfast is served till 3pm.

W and I came here for lunch recently, so I figured I will throw this post into my Steveston Series. We grabbed a menu and luckily found a table outside in the patio, which was almost full, and had a nice, relaxing time watching the …er… action… on Bayview:

cimona view

cimona view

Looking around I noticed that many people order the wraps here. W chose the chicken wrap with pineapple curry sauce. I tried a bit of it. It was pretty big and stuffed with tons of lettuce. The sauce was good too (you can choose from 3 different ones) – It wasn’t so heavy that W ate the whole thing (when usually she can only eat half a big wrap).

 

Cimona chicken wrap

Cimona chicken wrap

 
 

I was feeling like a lighter lunch so I had the tzatziki and grilled pita:

Pita and Tzatziki

Pita and Tzatziki

 

With a green salad:

 

Green salad

Green salad

I thought this was a pretty big size for the “small” portion. Veggies were quite fresh and crisp. The pita bread I liked – it didn’t seem like crappy quality packaged pita thrown in a toaster (though I am not sure exactly what type it was). The tzatziki was pretty standard tasting, but not bad. Couldn’t tell if it was homemade. You can also get hummous if you wanted.

Overall, both W and I were happy with our lunch. I still have to try a lot of the other stuff on their menu so I am going to keep coming back (on days when I have time to spare and relax though)!

Oh, and I’m not sure if this is an “issue” for anyone, it is for me on thirsty days when I down literally gallons of pop, because I would go to restaurants and get refills until my server gives me funny looks and offers me a jug since they get so tired of coming back every few minutes to refill my glass. Since this place is a cafe/diner, the pop you order will come in a can, and you won’t get refills.

 

Cimona Cafe and Catering

#201-3791 Bayview Street, Steveston

604-275-3753

Steveston Series II: Fieldstone Artisan Breads @ the Market

Baguette

Baguette

 OK, so this is not so much a Steveston post than it is a Surrey post, since Fieldstone is actually located in south Surrey. Nevertheless, they have decided to grace those of us up north with their fine, fine breads and pastries at the Steveston’s Farmer’s Market. Hence, Part II of the Steveston Series is entirely devoted to Fieldstone. 

Fieldstone uses organic flour, and all of their country breads are made by natural leavening. Basically, to me, their naturally leavened breads taste much less yeasty and has a nice, mild and not commercial tanginess to them. Of course one of the very first breads I pick at a bakery is a plain baguette, so I tried their Parisian Baguette, pictured above. It was delicious, one of the best. Really chewy, crispy crust, chewy inside. I had it with some of the lobster oil I got from the Cannery. Really good.

This past weekend I went and got their multiseed baguette. The various seeds that I could find were poppy, fennel, and pumpkin. The fennel was definitely present but not too overpowering, which I liked because I don’t really like licuorice-y tasting things. And it coupled nicely with the poppy seeds- fragrant, aromatic, chewy and tastey! This was so good I went through almost a whole baguette while walking around the market and went back to get another one. 

Multiseed Baguette

Multiseed Baguette

I liked how they shaped their multiseed baguette- it’s definitely rustic looking, and it’s got two horns at the end! (It’s not that long though, didn’t seem as long as your typical baguette- either because flour prices have gone up, or those horns were the results of some shaping screwup.) ^___^

 


 

Multiseed and Bar

Multiseed and Bar

 

Also tried their cranberry granola: pretty good like a home-made bar. Hard, partly crunch and partly chewy, and sweet. Also awesome were their large ooeygooey cinnamon buns and croissants.

 

Granola Bar
Granola Bar

 

This bakery is not to be missed, hence all the line ups. If you only come by here (or south Surrey) once in a blue moon, stock up!

 

 

Fieldstone Artisan Breads

#2- 12823 Crescent Rd, South Surrey

(604) 531-7880

Steveston Series (Part 1): Sunday Farmer’s Market

Here is Part 1 of my multi-part series on historic Steveston: the first annual Steveston Farmer’s Market.

 

The market is located next to Gulf of Georgia Cannery at the end of Moncton St. It’s been on for several weeks now, and runs every Sunday from 11AM-4PM. (Which I like, because a lot of markets run from 9-1…hm, let’s just say my day starts at about 1PM.) This was arriving right when the market opens:

steveston farmer\'s market

Steveston market

The first stop was the Fieldstone Bread‘s stand, because from previous visits to this market we know the longest lineups are here. More on Fieldstone later in the series.

Fieldstone stand

Fieldstone stand

 

European Breads Bakery: Another popular one. A lot of people were seen holding their Georgian baguettes: 

 

European Bread Bakery

European Bread Bakery

 

 

Try the cheese at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, they have awesome cheese, and the guys are really friendly. My favorite was their Island Brie:

 

The CHEESE stand!

The CHEESE stand!

I’d have taken more pics of the fruits and veggies- there were mainly strawberries, cherries, summer veggies, organic tomotos (bought a pound of sweeeet cherry tomatos)… but the giant pods of okra were cool, and of course the squash blossoms from my previous post. They were fat, and about 6 inches long, probably almost twice as big as the okra that I usually get at supermarkets! 

Giant okra

Giant okra

 

Also bought some locally grown, Richmond strawberries, which were quite sweet, but not super sweet. A pint for 5 bucks… Tried out some Okanagan cherries but they weren’t as sweet or as crunchy as some of the US of A ones I’ve been buying. So didn’t get those. Overall it kind of sucked that these “local, organic” foods were a lot more expensive than what I find at Asian markets. Pricier, and not necessarily as good. 

 

In terms of entertainment, there was a cooking lesson/show, live music, and dancing!

Dancing

Dancing

 

Still, you can spend a fun day here, even though some stands aren’t really worth the time. Just make sure you get here early, you’ll be sure to find a free, nearby parking spot, and get first pick at fresh produce. Once you get bored you can always take a stroll out to Garry Point or the Steveston Village. That’s all for now! Next up in the series: review of Fieldstone Breads! 

 

 

Steveston Farmer’s Market

Sundays 11AM-4PM

At the end of Moncton St, by Gulf of Georgia Cannery

Good dashi @ Ichiro

cimg2436.jpg

Ichiro again. Trying to spread the word. From J’s recent recommendation, I tried their vegetables in soup. It was nice: Enoki, cabbage, spinach, leeks, two giant slabs of tofu, in a nice pot of dashi soup. This also looked better than the picture they had on their menu. A decent size at $6.95, but of course one cannot simply come and go, without a very generous sampling of “the usual”:

cimg2433.jpg cimg2437.jpg

Glad to know I’m not the only one who suffers from that menu recurrency syndrome known as “Sticking to the good, reliable default even though you know you should be trying other things.”

On a side note – They were sold out of their coffee jello’s. It took them a long 15 minutes to inform us of this.

A sunny day down at the Wharf

Had lunch with Mom today, it was sunny out and we drove down to Steveston, walked around, and had lunch at the Charthouse.

Whether you like their food or not, no other restaurant has a better view of Steveston’s little Fisherman’s Wharf than the Charthouse, especially on a beautiful September day like this:

Charthouse view

 There are plenty of window seats, so don’t let them seat you elsewhere. The food was pretty good, and the service was excellent – our waitress was a lady with golden blond hair who was genuinely attentive and very smiley. She is probably the epitome of the perfect waitress. Anyway, Mother really enjoyed the chicken salad croissant sandwich from their special lunch menu. The croissant was pretty big; I don’t think she finished the whole thing:

Chicken Salad Croissant

I had the crab louis (which mom also really liked):

Crab Louis

A refreshing salad, with a lot of fresh – not canned – crab. A variety of veggies and half an egg.  (Why half? I don’t know.) I love asparagus and I only wish there was more – asparagus has been expensive lately so I haven’t been buying any, and I’ve been really craving it.

The bill came out to be under 40bucks (including a generous tip) which isn’t bad. One thing to note is, unlike most restaurants, pop at the Charthouse is not bottomless. I don’t know if this is important to a lot of people, but even if I don’t typically down several glasses of pop, bottomless is something I’ve come to expect when eating out, considering most places charge so much for a glass of pop.

一朗亭 Ichiro Japanese Restaurant (Great udon!)

It is hard to find a good Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, despite the vast multitude in the city (Dinehere lists 328 of them, which is double the number in the “pubs” or “pizza” or “family” categories). Maybe it’s my picky palate. I have gone places where I pay $30 for a few pieces of sashimi freshly imported from Japan, and came away disappointed. I have eaten sushi rolls so fusion-fancy and dressed up I can hardly tell what I’m eating. Us Vancouverites sure love our sushi (and quite literally, as sushi seems to be favored over other types of Japanese food such as don, men, nabemono, or yakimono). As long as there is rice, a piece of nori, and some fish all wrapped together in a neat little roll, we will eat it. Some probably love sushi so (blindly) much they don’t care they are eating at restaurants calling themselves Japanese, but have little right to do so.

Quite frankly, I’d be insulted if I were Japanese. It’s food-blasphemy!

It’s like if every Chinese dim sum place I go to the owners and chefs are speaking to me in Korean and putting kimchee in my char siew bao! (Hmmmm! Not that I wouldn’t love a kimchee bao!) But seriously, yes, fusion cuisine is all the rage and quite exciting, but “ethnic” cuisine is best enjoyed in true authenticity, no?

Anyway, I am hardly a connoisseur of Japanese cuisine. But over the years I’ve become a bit picky. My three basic requirements are quality, authenticity, and freshness. That means no all-you-can-eat, no eating at restaurants run by non-Japanese Asians, no sushi that comes in a foam or plastic box. (OK. The one thing I am guilty of is liking California rolls.) These three points are important because I adore sashimi, and you can go so wrong so easily if you eat sashimi at the wrong places. 

一朗亭 Ichiro Japanese Restaurant  (2nd Ave. and Chatham, Steveston) definitely meets the three requirements. Japanese-run, they serve fresh sashimi, tastey soup bases, and superb udon. Good service (though a tad slow), and gets quite busy even on weeknights. Below, a small sampling:

Uni sashimi (1/2 order):

 Uni

Words cannot describe how much I love uni. It is not for the faint of tongue, even if you don’t know what it is before you eat it. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is freshly prepared and served atop the sea urchin shell itself. Ichiro serve all their sashimi on ice, although with uni it might not be the greatest idea – you have to eat it fast or it will not hold up against the melting ice! Very fresh though, and very… uni. $8.99 well spent for this uni aficionado.

Chicken Udon:

Chicken Udon Yum

Chicken udon – that default noodle in soup thing to order. But this is no ordinary udon. I don’t think any other place has udon so good: not thick, white and doughy, the perfect consistency with just the right chewy. Perfect slippery udon texture. It also soaks up the flavor of the soup so well that if they had served the plain udon in soup, it would be a delicious dish. Ichiro‘s udon is a definite must-try.

Sashimi: Sockeye and Yellowfin Tuna:

Salmon Sashimi Yellowfin tuna 

Pretty generous portions of sashimi, unlike a lot of places that try to cheat you with little thin slices. Again, served on ice. The Sockeye is nice, red, and oily. The yellowfin is definitely among the best I’ve ever had. And it’s just cheap, plain old yellowfin tuna! So many places serve flavorless tuna, with that still-frozen taste, or with this rough texture and feel and kind of falls apart funny in your mouth. Ichiro‘s consistently had the perfect tuna taste. Nice, smooth, yum.

Rolls: California, chopped scallop, Steveston:

Rolls 

These are pretty standard rolls, as are most of the rolls on their menu. The Steveston roll (which is just salmon, shrimp and scallop) is not that exciting even with the green tobiko. Ichiro doesn’t try to fancy it up like so many places nowadays by wrapping their rolls with thin slices of mango or avocado or salmon. Which is just fine. I am not that taken with their rolls as their other items. They are good, but slightly overshadowed by everything else. 

Deep Fried Sole:

Deep fried sole 

A delightful snack. Very light, and super crunchy without being overly salty. Yes, you can eat the bones, which I think is the best part. You can also eat the head. It is served with coarse salt and a sauce, but is just great on its own.

Beef Soba:

Beef soba 

I say their udon definitely rocks, but their soba is great too. Nice and light with a good texture. If you’re not a big fan of udon… well, you should order the udon anyway, then have your soba.

If you are like me and order a lot of sashimi (and are “adventurous” is what my best friend likes to call me) a dinner here costs about 30 bucks a person, which is not bad for the quality of food you are getting. They also have bento boxes and good looking desserts. Highly recommended by all dinnermates I’ve eaten with here.