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The Hungry Nomad: 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011

August 30, 2011

Breakfast with an attitude at the Elbow Room (Vancouver, Canada)

This  restaurant has been around for ages (although it has moved around a few times). It has stood the test of time...even with the development of the Yaletown neighborhood and blocks of old buildings being replaced by shiny new Yaletown condos (including my beloved DV8..sigh).

The experience at the Elbow Room is like no other. As soon as you walk through the doors you are greeted by a group of eclectic servers and hosts. It is the most entertaining dining experience to say the least. Our server was hilarious. They are known for being a tad bit rude and playing around so if you are not in the mood to be humoured you may want to dine somewhere else.

Breakfast at the Elbow Room is one of the best in the city. They offer a wide variety of eggs-benedicts, pancakes and omelets amongst many other dishes. I thought the prices were a bit high given that many breakfast joints offer same if not similar food for way cheaper. However, perhaps they have had to adopt the yaletown mentality on this one. Either way I'm never one to complain about prices when the food is just soooo good. It makes it all worth it. 

On this particular occasion I opted for eggs Benedict topped with blue cheese and cheddar. It was To Die For.  

The Elbow Room Cafe on Urbanspoon

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August 29, 2011

Attention All Ramen Lovers, have you heard about Motomachi Shokudo? (Vancouver, Canada)

Last night I discovered a secret Japanese gem. I guess I can't really take credit for discovering it since my fellow foodie/partner in crime took me to this place. For those who know me well, they know that I love all things Asian from Hello Kitty, to any time of day dim sum, Chinese night markets, Japanese animation, and more generally all things Japanese. So it won't come as a surprise to hear that I have yet again fallen in love with a Japanese restaurant. It's called Motomachi Shokudo (located on 740 Denman Street between Alberni and Robson) in Vancouver, Canada. It is the newer sister restaurant of Kintaro's Ramen which is just two doors down.

I tried the spicy chicken ramen, or in other words: a large bowl of deliciousness. This place uses organic ramen and is MSG-Free. The bowl was filled to the rim with lotus root, leeks, bamboo shoots and other vegetable delights. Of course the best part was the ramen noodles and the tasty broth. Definitely one of the best ramen joints I have ever been to, and based on my love of all things Asian you can be sure that I have tried Ramen at many different venues.

 I could not finish my bowl. :(

We also tried the Gyoza's but in all honesty I have tried better. My favorite Gyoza spot in Vancouver is just a few blocks away, Gyoza King. (I'll definitely have to make a whole new entry for Gyoza King, its one of my favourite spots in Vancouver.) But back to the Ramen at hand:

All in all, Motomachi is a must-try for ramen lovers, especially the spicy chicken ramen.  I will be back to try the other types of ramen bowls (including the black bamboo charcoal ramen). This is a definitive Vancouver-style ramen joint with its own personality, and a bowl that leaves you bursting full (to the point that some may have to pop that top jean button to make more room). Until my next foodasmic experience.

Motomachi Shokudo on Urbanspoon

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August 28, 2011

Sunday at the Boat (Ionian Sea, Greece)

On our way to Zakynthos!

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August 26, 2011

La Isla des Mujeres (The Island of Women) (Mexico)

While in Cancun, we decided to take a day trip to the island just off the coast...La Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women).  A quick bus ride, ferry and a skip away and we found ourselves on the Island surrounded by Mexican tour guides attempting to lure us in.  If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Cancun but aren't willing to travel south to the Mayan riviera, then I highly suggest taking a day trip to Isla des Mujeres. It's a very charming, small, and laid back island with great beaches and food.

There are two different ferry terminals from Cancun that take you to the Island. We went to Puerto Juarez and took the Gran Puerto ferry boats which were fast and affordable. Once at the Island, we were immediately on the look out for food, and found the small, charming and family run Mexican restaurant called Amigos. We then walked around Centro which is covered by small local shops and made our way  to the the north of the island (by foot) to Playa Norte- which is just minutes away from the ferry terminal. Playa Norte is a beautiful small beach with crystal clear water and local beach bars.

Off to the distance you can see the Cancun strip of hotels.

Cliff of the Dawn- Most eastern point of Mexico

An Iguana enjoying his view or contemplating his/her suicide
Cafe Mango- closed the day we went but known for its tasty fresh food. 
Isla Mujeres grocery store

Playa del Nore
After a day at the beach, we rented a golf cart to tour the beautiful island. We headed south to the Mayan ruins located at the southern most tip of the island. Definitely take the time to rent a golf car to tour the island. We got off at Punta Sur and strolled through the ocean walkway to the bottom. It was truly breathtaking. 

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August 21, 2011

Sunday at Philoppapou (Athens, Greece)

High up on the Philoppapou Hill (here looking at the Acropolis)
is my favorite spot to do a little thinking.. 

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August 17, 2011

Vintage Shopping (Paris, France)

Shopping in general is not one of my favorite pastimes but I do make a few exceptions. One is foreign grocery stores. How I love all the unknown foods, in interestingly designed packages and all the exotic smells. The other exception I make is for thrifting. I adore the idea of all the stories that lay behind vintage items, re-using and newly loving these pre-loved objects and I simply like the styles, prints and shapes of bygone eras. In France they take vintage shopping to an all new level. Here a few of the very best second-hand clothing stores in Paris, thanks to my good friend there who introduced me to them!

Retro-Chic is a lovely little store to browse clothes from the 40's to 80's, with a nice mix of accessories (silk scarves, sunglasses, bags), affordable vintage and true gems by Chanel, Lanvin and Gucci. Most in tiny sizes, women's clothes only. 

Retro-Chic can be found at: 
4, Place du Marche Sainte Catherine
Metro St Paul

FripesKetchup is a store we ran into by accident, and is much more minimal in look and collection than most of the other vintage stores. Definitely more a 80's vibe here but I've also seen some older pieces. They mainly sell clothes, but also some accessories. Definitely affordable and a wide range of sizes. Women's clothes only.

FripesKetchup can be found at:
8, rue Dancourt
Metro: Abbesses or Anvers 

Mamie and Mamie Blue are two stores by the same owners. I have honestly never seen a store so fully stuffed with vintage clothes, accessories and shoes. You can find things as old as from the 1900s as well as relatively new stuff from the 80's. Take out some time in your schedule to rummage through it all and you are bound to find something worth your while. Lots of cute vintage children's clothes and a large men's section as well.

Mamie can be found at:
69 and 73, rue de Rochechouart
Metro: Anvers

Mam'zelle Swing
Mam'zelle Swing has the sweetest store owner I've ever met in Paris and a great collection of mainly 50's and 60's clothes in all sizes and at very fair prizes. Women's clothes only. 

Mam'zelle Swing can be found at:
35, rue du Roi de Sicile
Metro: St Paul or Hotel de Ville

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August 14, 2011

Sunday at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Athens, Greece)

Lazy afternoon at the slope of the Acropolis.

August 11, 2011

The Cicada & The Ant (Athens, Greece)

The Cicada & The Ant (or Ο τζίτζικας κι ο μέρμηγκας in Greek)is a restaurant chain in Athens, with a few in the suburbs and one restaurant smack in the middle of the city centre. If you're hungry, want a bit of good Greek food and don't feel like straying too far from Athens' constitution square, just turn the corner and you'll find this cozy little place tucked inside a small street (12, Mitropoleos). 

You'll instantly feel welcome, being offered a glass of raki, some olives and fresh bread. Most of the food on the menu are Greek classics like meatballs and a Greek salad, all of good quality. It includes some surprises as well, like spicy cheeses out of the oven and my personal favorite: a veggie burger made of two thick slices of Mastelo cheese from Chios filled with grilled vegetables. Delicious! 

Prices are very reasonable, albeit a bit pricier than your regular taverna in town. Atmosphere warm and service impeccable. 

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August 7, 2011

West End Farmer's Market (Vancouver, Canada)

The other day I saw a lady with a big basket of lavender walking on Davie- when I asked where she had purchased it she directed me to the Saturday Farmer's Market located by Nelson Park...

...and what a lovely little market it was. From food stands selling tacos to stands with local organic berries, veggies, lavender and honey. I managed to buy all my produce for the week from the market and the best part is: its ALL ORGANIC. 

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Cool Sunday (Athens, Greece)

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August 4, 2011

Calabash Bistro (Vancouver, Canada)

Neighborhood: Gastown
Price range: $$$

If you crave Caribbean food, reggae music and a really fun night out then make your way over to Calabash Bistro. Calabash is yet another great addition to the burst of culinary venues in Gastown. It was quite the adventure walking over there from Water street including some interesting characters...but that's happening more and more these days as restaurants expand outside of the downtown west side. Either way- the experience at Calabash is worth the trip through the neighborhood. 

Traditional Caribbean food including goat curry, roti and jerk chicken are served at this bistro (see menu). Plus there is nightly live music downstairs which turns into a big party after 10pm.

If you want to combine food and fun then Calabash is the perfect way to spend the evening. Definitely try one of their many flavors of rum including some of their delicious creations.

We started with plantain chips and johnny cakes served with a side of Jamaican ketchup and the house hot sauce. For dinner I opted for the jerk chicken with a side of roti. The spices were just right and the chicken- soft and tender served with a side of rice. The roti was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside served with a side of hot sauce (yum). A friend recommended the oxtail claiming it to be the most amazing dish in town. I'll have to try it next time. 

For dessert another friend and I tried the coconut dumplings which were also very good. All in all, our party really enjoyed our night at Calabash so much that we ended up staying there all night. The food, art, drinks and music are all amazing. Really glad to see restaurants like this opening up in Vancouver adding a bit more excitement to the city. 

Calabash Bistro on Urbanspoon

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August 3, 2011

Acacia Fillo Bar (Vancouver, Canada)

How is it possible that I have walked by this place a million times and never managed to take a peak inside? Over the weekend by pure chance (and luck) I ended up at Acacia Fillo Bar to grab a quick bite before the pride parade started. 

I have been searching for good breakfast spots downtown for quiet sometime- and after trying the food here it has gone straight to the top of my list. It's a very small Bulgarian/Eastern European restaurant and coffee shop nestled in between shops and restaurants on Denman street so it's easy to miss. I'm just sad that I had not discovered it sooner. 

First off, I ordered freshly squeezed orange juice (which was squeezed right before my very eyes). Next, I tried the spinach and feta fillo which was so fresh and delicious and unlike anything I've had before (similar to a Greek Spanakopita...but definitely better). You can really tell at a place like this that time, effort and quality is put into each and every meal. Next, I ordered the chocolate and berries fillo roll which was oozing with chocolate and berry from all sides. It was sooooo delicious that I think I may just have to go back for some more. You could tell that there were a lot of regulars there and I can see why (one regular told me that the pumpkin filled fillo is to die for- I'll have to try it next. I even spoke to a Bulgarian friend afterwards who told me its a favorite amongst local Bulgarians (which is always a good thing. I definitely plan on going back to try their full breakfast menu. I'll keep my beloved readers posted on the verdict. 

Acacia Fillo Bar on Urbanspoon

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