Last year, my friend celebrated a milestone birthday. Her colleagues organized a surprise “Hapa Hour” (happy hour) celebration at Hapa Izakaya. As the reservation was tight, they only invited a few of her former co-workers. Luckily I made the cut… :)
As it was a surprise party, most of us left the office immediately after work and walked over to the Coal Harbour location of Hapa Izakaya. Two people were designated as her decoy dinner dates to bring her to the restaurant a little later. The first group of people arrived about 15 minutes after the reservation time and were told that 4 of our seats had been set aside for another group. By the time the rest of us arrived (except the birthday girl and her two dinner dates), our table was already practically full. The other table (taken away from us) was still empty.
While we waited for the arrival of the birthday girl, I took the opportunity to chat with some of her colleagues. I had seen some of them around the building but never stopped to chat with them. In between conversations, I stopped to look out the windows and admire the waterfront view from my seat. We waited and waited and waited but no sign of the birthday girl. As it was quickly approaching the end of Hapa Hour (5:30 pm), we decided to take advantage of the happy hour prices and ordered some food.
- Goma-Ae ..? or .. Midori Salad…? I can’t remember…
- Ebi Mayo – Tempura prawn, spicy mayo sauce
- I remember trying the Hapa Hot Wings and the Ebi Mayo at another Hapa Izakaya. They were really good so I made sure to order them… and they didn’t disappoint! I also tried the Ika Calamari but was starting to regret ordering yet another deep-fried item. I probably should have ordered something that was lighter and less oily.
- My friend, who had been delayed by some last-minute urgent matter at work, did not make it in time for the hapa hour prices, but she was pleasantly surprised by the big turnout of colleagues and friends.
As I drafted this blog post, I suddenly remembered that my Yaletown Hapa Izakaya photos were uploaded but have been sitting in a draft post for quite some time. Those photos were from a birthday dinner in early October 2012. I was talking a friend out for his birthday and he picked the Hapa Hour menu for the Yaletown location.
We ordered a delicious spread from the hapa hour menu: ebi mayo, beef tataki, edamame, negitoro, hapa hot wings and renkon gyoza tempura, My favourites were the ebi mayo, hapa hot wings and renkon gyoza tempura. I enjoyed the beef tataki but it didn’t make it on my favourites list. The edamame seemed a little overcooked and I’m not a big fan of raw tuna.
I remember it was a beautiful, October day and we were seated outside on the patio. The natural light helped make the photos that much more attractive (with that much less effort). It is too bad I didn’t get a chance to blog about this place before leaving for my Australia trip. If you’ve stopped by this blog over the past year, you might recall that it took me almost a year to blog about all the good eats from my Australia 2012 trip.
Hmm.. Maybe.. this is a reminder that it’s time to go back again…