Ashiana Restaurant Surrey

May 9th, 2012 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The other day I received a reader email about Ashiana Restaurant in Surrey telling me that it’s a must-try and that is has some of the best Indian food in the region. With a claim like that, I had to see for myself so I went out to Ashiana on 80th and Scott Road to see what the fuss was about.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

Family-owned in Vancouver for the last 30 years (having the city’s first tandoori oven), Ashiana opened a second location in Surrey that has recently undergone renovations. Operated by Rick Takhar (Executive Chef & Owner), loyal customers from Vancouver even make their way to Surrey to check out this and of course to have Rick’s dishes.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

Rick personally prepared and brought out a lunch feast for us that began with a simmering platter of vegetable tandoori. Bright colours popped on the dish, all thanks to natural flavours and spices – not artificial colouring.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey
Ashiana Tandoori Surrey Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

Sizzling paneer tikka (cheese cubes that I could spend hours devouring), tandoori alu bharwan (potatoes stuffed with masala and grilled), tandoori cauliflower.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey
Ashiana Tandoori Surrey Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

Saag paneer (spinach with cheese), and sugar-free butter chicken.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

Alu gobi (cauliflower & potatoes sauteed with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic).

Vegetable oil is used in Rick’s cooking instead of ghee (a clarified butter) and it shows. The butter chicken was not thick like heavy cream although it had the classic taste of butter chicken. Flavours and spices weren’t masked, they actually popped, and didn’t leave me feeling weighed down. This was the theme of the meal – crisp, natural, with spices and herbs that danced with flavour. Ginger, pepper, turmeric, onions, they all shined.

While our lunch was specially prepared, you can find Mixed Grill Platters on the menu for $15.95, or the Heart Smart Tandoori Mixed Grill for $18.95. There were three of us at lunch and we couldn’t finish off the spread, that included rice and naan. John enjoyed the leftovers for dinner later that night.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

Capping off our lunch was a plate of sweets that could also be found in the pick-up counter up front. Habshi halwa (with almonds) and a chai tea rounded out the meal perfectly.

My host told me that Rick is far too modest for his own good and this is the reason I was invited out for lunch. I had to meet this hospitable restauranteur and award-winning chef who has brought his decades of experiences to the Surrey market.

Ashiana Tandoori Surrey Ashiana Tandoori Surrey

The Vancouver Ashiana Restaurant location is at 1440 Kingsway (at Knight) and the Surrey location is at 8072 Scott Road (in the plaza next to Fruiticana). If you have the chance, try it out for yourself with the family (there’s tons of space in the restaurant) or for take-out.

Disclosure: Review Post

I was not paid to write this post or any other. I was invited to Ashiani and Rick covered our meal. This does not affect the outcome of my coverage or guarantee coverage.

Surrey Canada Day 2012: Fireworks, Sam Roberts

May 9th, 2012 @ 7:57am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Surrey’s Canada Day celebration, one of the largest in the country, is once again jam-packed with free activities, entertainment, games, fireworks, and tons of Canadian bands. The line up has just been announced and it includes headliners the Sam Roberts Band.

Surrey Canada Day 2010
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Chevron Stage Sam Roberts Band, Hannah Georgas, The High Bar Gang (featuring Shari Ulrich, Colin Nairne, Barney Bentall and more), Andrew Allen. Blaze of Glory (a Bon Jovi Tribute), Jerry Doucette, Jordan Cook, and more.

Peak Performance Stage Two side-by-side stages that will have music going all day with the top 20 bands in BC as selected for the Peak Performance Project.

On top of the bouncy castles and amusement rides this year, there will be more high-flying entertainment with the addition of the Global FMX freestyle motocross team.

Surrey Canada Day 2009
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Festivities will take place at the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre (176th Street & 64th) on Sunday, July 1, 2012 from 10:00am to 10:15pm. This event is free for the public (except the cost of rides) thanks to sponsors like Coast Capital Savings, Chevron, Fruiticana, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and CTV.

Follow the City of Surrey’s events team on Twitter @Surrey_Events for information leading up to Canada Day.

O.N.E. Coconut Giveaway

May 8th, 2012 @ 4:55pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The coconut water craze hit about 2 years ago and O.N.E. Coconut Water has just arrived in Canada (and BC) in TetraPak juice boxes made from recycled materials.

O.N.E. CoconutWhile Vancouver has some of the best tap water on the planet, some look for a little extra boost especially after after light exercise, for cooking, and for cocktail mixing.

Coconut water is technically juice, but it is virtually clear and has a very light flavour with a hint of sweetness – with no other ingredients added. I even found recipes for coconut water ice cubes, coconut water smoothies, and coconut water rice.

O.N.E. Coconut contains 3 naturally-occurring electrolytes and more potassium than a banana (569mg in a typical serving) making it ideal for complimenting light workouts and everyday activity.

They would like a reader of mine to try it out for themselves so they are offering up a 3-month supply of O.N.E. Coconut as well as a 3-month YYoga membership (valued at $396). Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • RT to enter to win coconut water + yoga for 3 months from @ONECoconutCA & @miss604 http://ow.ly/aMK1r

    In Vancouver, you can look for O.N.E. Coconut at Safeway, Whole Foods, and 7-Eleven. Learn more about O.N.E. Coconut through Facebook and Twitter. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 10:00am on Saturday, May 12, 2012.

    Update The winner is @Mehat_4482!

Archives Photos of the Day: Ice Cream

May 8th, 2012 @ 3:36pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I was having a hard time figuring out what I would feature this week from the Vancouver Archives and Vancouver Library until I stepped onto my balcony. The thermometer is rising past 15 degrees, flip flops are out in full force, and there’s only one thing that’s coming to my mind this afternoon: ice cream. While it’s not the most popular tag in the archives, I did manage to find a few images from days gone by.


1916 – John Oliver eating ice cream at what would become the PNE. VPL Accession#: 30206.
Duke Ellington with ice cream sunday. Photographer: William Cunningham. VPL Accession#: 60435


1920 – Almond’s ice cream store in English Bay. Photographer: Stuart Thomson. Archives item# CVA 99-3097.


1949 – Staff at the soda counter at Jersey Farms Dairy in Kitsilano.
VPL Accession#: 81018B & VPL Accession#: 81018A


1936 – Port O’Van Ice Cream, 1166 Hornby. Photographer: Stuart Thomson. Archives item#: CVA 99-4857.


1940s – Ice cream parlour clerk. Archives item#: CVA 1184-1218.
1930s – Man holding ice cream. Photographer: James Crookall. Archives item#: CVA 260-347.


1935 – Palm Ice Cream truck. Photographer: Stuart Thomson. Archives item#: CVA 99-4448.


1953 – Royal Ice Cream, New Westminster. Item No. IHP9267-0060.
1935 – Palm Ice Cream truck. Archives item# CVA 99-4440.

Circus West: Blue Sky Circus

May 8th, 2012 @ 10:21am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Circus West presents Blue Sky Circus this week at the PNE Gardens. Through accrobalance, juggling, and movement it tells the story of a group of young stargazers guided into space by mystical astral forces.

“Zodiac inspired characters, including Sagittarius, Libra, Aries and Scorpio, guide the Stargazers on their way. Soleil, the sun character, weaves mayhem in a gyroscopic spinning hoop. Constellations come to life as aerial dancers twirl high above centre ring. Jugglers create a starry sky through dazzling object manipulation.”

The cast is comprised of young circus artists who are enrolled in the CentreStage and Performance programs at CircusWest. Acrobatics, aerial fabric routines, unicycles, swinging trapeze, stilts, trampoline feats and more are set to dazzle the crowd.

Janet Smith from the Georgia Straight attended a dress rehearsal and interviewed some of the performers, like 15 year-old Eloise Aguilar-Saurina (who plays Halley’s comet) and 15 year-old Claire Hopson (who rides the ultimate wheel—a). She has a great article posted about Circus West’s program and the upcoming Blue Sky Circus show.

Performances are scheduled daily at 12:30pm and 7:00pm from May 10th to May 13th, 2012. All tickets are general admission and are available online for $20 (adults), $15 (students), and $13 (youth, under 18). The PNE Gardens are located at 2901 East Hastings.