Two Words: Abbotsford Sushi

I find, regarding ‘Sushi’, the closer you get to the ocean, the better the sushi tastes (A bit of a no-brainer.) On the other hand, the closer you get to the ocean, the more expensive it seems to be to find good-quality Japanese Chefs. Abbotsford is the perfect city to find hit-or-misses. In fact, I’d almost go out and say Abbotsford is full of mediocre tasting sushi. That is why I am going to give you a bit of advice on my experiences on Sushi restaurants here in my hometown.

I am a bit of a sushi-fiend. I LOVE IT. I could wrap myself up with rice and seaweed and be pretty content for a few years. Raw seafood is comforting and easy on the stomach. I say that because I don’t like the pains that comes with digesting red meat. I loveee me some seafood. However, sometimes what gets in the way of enjoying an amazingly-tasty-piece-of-heaven-in-a-roll meal is the service.

Sometimes after eating a meal somewhere I will go onto Urbanspoon and take a look at how other people found their meals/service/experience. Honestly, 80% of the time I am completely blown away by how other people, like myself, have graded their experiences. The perfect example is Sumas Sushi Cafe. Here is a piece of a review I posted a few years ago onto Dine Here -

“Walking into a clean and orderly cafe, you are immediately welcomed by the chef(s) and other employees. I can choose whether to dine in, or take out. The food is made in front of me, if I choose to sit at the bar, and for take out, it’s never a long wait.
The sushi is not state of the art, but it is the best in town. And let’s face it, this is not Vancouver – it’s Abbotsford. The price is not bad, I pay $10.00 to satisfy my craving, and I am always satisfied.
I have a family of six and we order two trays and are completely stuffed by the end.
I am a loyal customer of the cafe, and will always point you in it’s direction if you’re looking for good sushi, in Abbotsford.”

Now since this post, things have changed drastically for the little cafe. Number one, the Chef (whom I have a special place in my heart for) is seemingly more and more fatigued-looking whenever I go. A number of times he has forgotten to put the “crunch” on my “california crunch roll” to-go, he does not greet me as happily as he used to, and I am actually getting a little depressed walking into my old favourite restaurant. I still go there, because I still want him to know that he has some regulars, but the service has gone down a few notches and it is a little disappointing. Still. I will honestly always point people in his direction because he is an amazing man who seems to be getting tired. Sumas Sushi Cafe is still on my top list for Abbotsford.

Midori Sushi. Well… I have had a lot of tasty rolls here. The Yam Tempura roll is fantastic and the rolls are huge! My only downside is some of the rolls are at times a little to mushy inside for even my expert tongue. On the other hand, they do stuff their rolls full so you are definitely getting a bang for your buck. They do have an All You Can Eat here for 12.95. I have never tried it, as I tend to avoid All You Can Eats, but feel free to comment and let me know your experiences!

I have had the most awful experiences ever in the history of my dining life at two sushi restaurants here in town. They were Ebisu Sushi and Hana Sushi. Just… well… I do not like to complain. But this is an honest review. I have only been to each place once, as my first experience was so dreadful I will never walk in their doors again. At Ebisu, I ordered take out. I was told it would be ready in twenty-five minutes. I always come early so that I can have my sushi ready after I arrive, the fresher the better. I walk in fifteen minutes after making the phone call. My sushi was already ready and packaged for me to go. That annoyed me a bit because I did order some hot dishes and if I had come ten minutes later they would be cold before I got home. WELL, NO PROBLEM THERE. I am completely honest right now. I stood by the cashier for half an hour waiting for someone to help me. The waitress did acknowledge I was there at one point but told me she was going to ring through one of the customers who ate their first. She then left and gave out dishes to some people, me still standing by the cash register. A man behind the counter kept looking at me, I held my credit-card in my hand and waited for him to suggest he help me pay, but this did not happen. By the time I got home my food was stone cold and I was so disappointed. On the other side of town, at Hana, I ate in. My sister and I were the only ones in the restaurant and we had a server who sat behind the counter on his cell phone the entire time. After our meals, which were very disappointing and not tasty at all, I had to call him over to pay. He only brought us water once, and forgot one of our rolls. It was sad.

 

To be continued.

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Butter Chicken Soup

finished

One of my favourite meals to make is Butter Chicken. I am a little bit obsessed with the indian spices, and tend to cook more Indian than any other ethnic food! I usually make the regular butter chicken with rice on the side, and was actually planning on making the same for dinner. But, as it turns out, I am going out for dinner! And my ingredients were all sitting there nicely on the counter, so, I was like – What the hell! It’ll make a fantastic lunch. And it did! This is how I made it.

Butter Chicken Soup

Yields 6 Servings

Ingredients

3 large Chicken Breasts

5 Red Vine Tomatoes

1 large Onion

Olive Oil

1 Serrano Pepper (omit if you do not like it spicy!)

1 tbsp Sambal (add a tsp if you do not like it spicy or omit!)

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Curry Powder /or/ a good helping of Curry Paste!

1 1/2 tbsp Honey

1 tsp Cayenne (can be replaced with Chilli powder)

3 1/2 cups Chicken Broth

3 tbsp Butter

1 cup Heavy Cream

1 cup Basmati Rice

Fresh Cilantro

Sour Cream /or/ Light Cream Cheese

Added Salt and Pepper to taste!

Marinade:

2 tbsp Lemon juice

1 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Coriander

1 tsp Curry

1/2 tsp Cayanne (use Chili powder instead if you do not like it too spicy!)

1 tbsp Ginger Root

1 clove of Garlic (I used Ginger Garlic Paste, a good spoonful of that!)

marinade

Let’s first make the marinade, as the chicken should dwell in it for at least 1 hour. Cut your raw chicken into small, bite-sized pieces and place into a bowl. Add your marinade ingredients into the bowl and blend. If you notice your chicken isn’t soaking up the spices while you blend it, keep adding more lemon juice until the chicken and the spices become one! Now. Cover, and stick it in the fridge.

tomatoesonions

 While we let that marinade, how about we start the soup base. I don’t like to cut and de-seed my tomatoes. I just take that hard part off the top out and stick them right in the pot! If I am going to be blending it anyways, there is no point in spending time cutting it. Chop up the onions and stick them also into the pot. Drizzle with olive oil and put on medium heat. Cut up your serrano pepper, be sure to get all the seeds out, and stick it also into the dish. Remember: Don’t waste your time making these even slices, we’ll be blending them!

serannosadded

 Continue to add your spices and the sambal. Make sure there is nothing sticking onto your pan but don’t overly mix. Let those onions and tomatoes soak!

blender

 Now fill up your blender about halfway with your mixture, and blend it tell it’s really fine. Then add the rest and do the same. I want everything ground up!

heating

Place the soup back into the pot and let it simmer just enough to stay warm. Add the chicken broth, honey, and butter. Be sure to do a taste-test to make sure your broth has good taste!

 chicken

Time to get the chicken cooking! Put some oil in your pan and dump that chicken into it. Don’t touch your chicken too much, just let them soak in the heat.

In another small pot, make some Basmati rice. It’s okay if it doesn’t completely cook, as long as it’s almost-all cooked.

riceadd

 Add your finished chicken and rice to the soup! Be sure it is warm enough and then turn the heat off and add the cream. I let mine sit for an hour, just to give the rice some time to blend into the soup.

finished

Place into a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro! I added sour cream to mine and it was lovely. I also think light cream cheese would be amazing with it, but unfortunately I was all out. Serve with Naan Bread or fresh buns!

Vi La Palace

Vi La Palace Vietnamese Restaurant

Location: Mt. Lehman road, Abbotsford, BC

Website: http://www.vilapalace.com/

Ahh, the Vi La Palace. At first glance, it seems to be a small, barely decorated family restaurant with booths and tables, nothing super special, but an excellent casual place. Walking through the doors your are immediately greeted by the staff, if it is not super busy, you are able to choose where to sit. Sometimes it can be a bit chilly since the door opens up to the main eating area. The kitchen is visible in the back, behind a small bar. A large fish tank provides some entertainment with a few fishies swimming around, something I always like in a restaurant – something to stare at when conversation is scarce. The television plays a round of photographs that are from all over the world, kind of pointless but mildly entertaining (for there are some random photos.)

The setting is mainly fit for 2-4 individuals, but my family of six has eaten here many times and they are always willing to rearrange!

Prices are amazingly low. Understandably, maybe, since this place is sort of starting up. My meal, alone, usually costs somewhere between 14-18$, including drink, appetizer, and entree.

Since I am a bit of a regular there, aka I have been there maybe 10+ times in the past half year, when the regular waitress (the daughter of the owner) is there, she comes with my water and states she already has my salad rolls on their way! She knows me too well.

Salad Rolls: If you have never tried these before, Vi La is the PERFECT place to start. Rice paper-wrapped vermicelli noodles with basil, carrots, cilantro, meat (in this case either pork and shrimp, or shrimp and imitation crab) and peanut sauce to dip! Cover those bad boys up with some Hoision sauce and Thai Chili sauce and you’ve got the easiest way to eat a salad. Delicious.

Other advisable tastes to try are ‘The Famous Spicy Vietnamese Hue Soup’ or the ‘Grilled Pork on Vermicelli Noodles.’ The plates are HUGE. My brother, who usually eats like a Beast, can never finish his meal. These meals are the perfect ‘take home’ meals, I even believe anything on Vermicelli noodles tastes better the next day, but that’s me, personally.

For me, food has almost always come in a timely manner. I had one experience, with a different waitress than normal, who seemed to forget about my meal. That was a little disappointing, but it was only the one time in many.

With the new mall coming to Mt. Lehman, I can surely see this place booming in later times. Popularity always is up and down, some nights I come and it’s packed, others it’s empty. I’ve never been for lunch, but I can see how this place is more of a “noon meal.”


There are not many extremely amazing places in Abbotsford, but Vi La Palace is a hidden treasure, for sure.

Tip: Sit close to the back on cold evenings. It gets quite chilly in the restaurant, so wear an extra layer for indoors. 

Vi-la Palace on Urbanspoon

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