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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nibbles at Nightingale

During Lent 2017, I restricted myself to a whole host of dietary rules, meaning that I can only eat poultry and seafood, no pasta and no fast food. One such meal was at The Oakwood. Here is another one I tried at Nightingale.
Our first plate was from their Raw section, the Yellowtail Crudo, dotted with bits of roasted poblano, and a meyer lemon and 'monti iblei' olive oil emulsion. This was tasty, and super fresh. Each slice was delicate, sweet and stood its own with the lemony flavours. 
Our first Vegetable plate was their Roasted Acorn Squash with walla walla onion puree. Then it's topped with crumMacedonianonian feta and crispy sage. The texture of the squash was tender and the feta gave the dish a richness I didn't expect. Crispy herbs are always fun, but the sage flavours really did enhance the squash.
The second Vegetable dish was the Roasted Maitake Mushroom, topped with pecorino and hazelnut on a bed of brown butter. The juicy mushrooms were earthy and the hazelnut crunch was delightful. 
From their Small plates, we opted for the Crispy Fried Chicken. This was probably the most disappointing dish. The chicken was dry and the batter was thick and heavy. The dill and preserved lemon yogurt dip, and the dusting of espelette pepper did little to help matters. 
From the Large plates, we tried the Grilled Arctic Char. This was by far my favourite dish of the night! Chunks of fingerling potato and artichoke salad gave the dish some weight, and the toasted almond silvers had a nice smoky crunch. The lemon lightened the dish and really gave the fish a wonderful citrus flavour.

Second of two amazing meals during Lent, come back for more in the next few weeks!

Nightingale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Oakwood - Casual, Cozy and Delicious!

Since Lent started over a month ago, I've been challenging myself to find meals that do not include any of the following: anything that walks on land with four legs (so poultry & seafood are fair game), pasta (including pho and ramen), rice (which excludes sushi) as well as fast food (so no more Sausage McMuffins). 

This seemed daunting at first, but I've found it to be surprisingly easy! Here is one of my more memorable meals at The Oakwood. Stay tuned for more in the next few weeks. 

Passion Gone Sour
Before taking a look at the menu, the cocktail list caught my eye (there's a reason I didn't give up alcohol for Lent!). I love all things tart, such as Sour Keys, Lemon Meringue or Key Lime Pie. So when I spotted the Passion Gone Sour cocktail, I had high hopes that it would bring on a serious pucker, in liquid form. It didn't disappoint! The cocktail is dark rum based, sweetened with mezcal, passionfruit & orange syrup, add a strong sour note from lemons, and made velvety with egg whites. Delicious and addictive! 
Warm Kale Salad
We started with the wildly popular Warm Kale Salad, and I can see why. In addition to kale, there are also cauliflower and brussel sprouts, and some buttermilk fried onions for crunch. All the veg is then topped with a light lemon parmesan dressing. The various textures and slightly tangy flavours almost make you forget that you're eating a superfood. 
Siren's Call
Having been a fan of petit verdot wine since my first exposure to the Pirramimma Mclaren Vale, I was eager to try this offering from Siren's Call (a nod to Green mythology), a wine from the Okanagan. I thoroughly enjoyed this and paired well with our next few dishes.
Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon
Some people aren't fans of salmon skin, but I am, and the best part of any Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon is the skin, which was well-seasoned and slightly crispy. The veg that accompanied the salmon included peewee potatoes, daikon, oven dried tomatoes and melt-in-your-mouth confit shallots. The sauce is quite reminiscent of a Chinese ginger and green onion sauce but was actually a charred scallion & ginger concoction.
Seared Duck Breast
Since I'm allowed to have poultry, we decided to share the Seared Duck Breast. It was a perfect medium and came on top of some smoked lentils and brocollini. Commonly paired with a fruit-based sauce, such as berries, orange or even plum, this duck was served with a cherry gastrique. A black garlic puree (made from garlic that has been heated for days or weeks) dots each slice of the breast and a snowfall of brown butter powder completes the dish. This was the highlight of the dinner for me.
Cardamom Chocolate Ganache
Now I'm not one for desserts but I am during Lent. I needed something to round out the meal. The first plate was a Cardamom Chocolate Ganache, with a bit of tartness from the orange gel. The sesame praline crisp was tasty, jam packed with sesame flavours, and the earl grey ice cream balanced out the rich ganache nicely. 
Coconut Custard
Now, honestly, I didn't plan on having a second dessert, but who am I to complain? This next one is the Coconut Custard, its mild sweetness is cut by the blueberry ice cream. A bite of the pink peppercorn meringue crisps imparts a slightly spicy crunch, the macerated strawberries and blueberries give the dish some freshness too. 

Although I had been to Oakwood years ago as part of Dine Out, I'm sure glad I came back to give this place a try. And once Easter has come and gone, I plan to come back and sample their 48 hour slow cooked beef short rib and burger 2.0. 

The plates are meant to be shared so bring a group and you can sample as many dishes as you like. 
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Lunch and dinner at Glowbal

Although I have been to the Glowbal bar many times for drinks, I've only recently started having meals there. This is a compilation of my most recent lunch and dinner over the past few weeks. 

I do love their bar, their bar stars as well as their amazing cocktails. Sigh, maybe I love them too much!

This is their Ahi Tuna Poke with bits of coconut, chunks of mango and avocado, with some cucumber and topped with black sesame and cilantro. The taro chips are amazing, light and crispy. It's a perfect way to have this dish. Great for sharing and a light way to start off lunch. 
I usually opt for a light lunch but since I forgot to eat the day before this, I decided to indulge and have a burger. Not just any burger, but the Glowbal Burger. The patty is topped with a portobello mushroom, some bacon (extra crispy by request) and cheddar. The usual mustard aioli, lettuce and tomato complete the burger, which is served with a brioche bun. After offering a third of it to my date, I tackled this baby as an open faced sandwich. Every bite was excellent, and I definitely inhaled the fries.
My friend chose a much healthier option, their Prawn & Quinoa Salad. I was surprised at how tasty this was. It was served with more prawns than I expected, and the blend of avocado, cucumber, gem tomatoes went well with the crunch of the almonds and the creamy goat cheese. Learn how to make this here
When I went for dinner again a few weeks later, we again got their Ahi Tuna Poke. It was as solid as the first time. Consistency is key! Behind the poke is the Smoked Sablefish Chowder, a creamy chowder with wild mushrooms and double smoked bacon, just a touch salty, but rich and satisfying.
When I went dinner, I opted for another heavy dish, their Short Rib Pappardelle. Chunks of short rib surrounded by mushrooms, spinach and pine nuts. The café au lait sauce was quite mild, and the pasta was done perfectly. I would definitely order this again.
This Bouillabaisse was amazing! Plenty of seafood, including sablefish and salmon, both with crispy skin. Add to that prawns, mussels, scallops and you've got a well-balanced dish. I really like the fact the fish pieces were large and not chopped up into little pieces. This was truly delicious. 
And because two rich entrees aren't enough, we also got their Short Rib Poutine...because fries with meat is a match made in heaven. We enjoyed this because it covers all the bases for a poutine, but I didn't like the large sections of the raw green onions. Personal preference and easy to pick out. It was also a bit on the salty side. The fries were kept warm during the meal with the cast iron pan. It's a good appetizer and side dish. 
To finish off one of my meals, we were treated to an amazing Dessert Assortment. There were macarons, gelees, chocolate nibbles and fresh fruit. What a decadent ending to a great meal. 

I'll be back and I will definitely eat as well as enjoying their drinks at their bar! 
Glowbal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pizza Tasting at Firecrust Pizzeria

A few months ago, I was a tagalong on a pizza tasting at Firecrust. Pizzas are made to order in a gas-burning oven. Yes, you read that right, gas, not fire. That's because of building regulations, a wood-fired oven was not possible. However, as you can see from the crusts, the fire burns hot in that oven.

We tried four pizzas (Margherita, Siciliana, Prosciutto Arugula and a Build Your Own), along with two salads (Chopped and Caprese), as well as their Italian Wedding Soup. 
Now the Margherita is a classic and if done right, the ingredients really speak for themselves. At just $8.95, this pizza was a great deal. It wasn't overloaded with toppings, but each bite showed off the San Marzan tomato sauce. I could have used a bit more basil or would have preferred it to be sprinkled on chiffonade style.
This Prosciutto Arugula pizza was probably my favourite. At $12.95, this pizza features both Romano and Fior Di Latte cheeses with a brush of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic. It's then topped with Prosciutto and Arugula after baking. I liked how there weren't any heavy sauces to detract from the freshness of the ingredients. Give this a try next time you want a nice, light treat! 
To lighten things up, we also got two fo their salads. This one here is their Caprese, featuring mixed greens, tomatoes, basil and some Fior Di Latte.  The dressing of EVOO and Balsamic came on the side. It was really and a good refreshing bite. 
The next salad was a bit heartier and could probably be a meal by itself. It was their signature Chopped salad, with a base of romaine and grape tomatoes, but with some soppressata, cubed chicken and feta on top. The dressing was again on the side and was a simple balsamic vinaigrette.
Now back to another pizza, we got the Siciliana. Meats include Italian Sausage, Ham and Prosciutto, and Fior Di Latte, Romano, on a bed of simple San Marzano Tomato Sauce and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The is heavy and will definitely fill you up!
They also have an option of a Build Your Own pizza, which we thought was interesting. We chose a base of alfredo sauce and topped it with two kinds of cheese, Fior Di Latte and gorgonzola. For protein, we added some chopped chicken all topped with some grape tomatoes and mushrooms. Flavour additions included chilli flakes and fresh basil.
And for our very last taste, we tried their Italian Wedding Soup, with small meatballs, assorted veggies in a light chicken broth. It was nice and light and good for a chilly day.

All in all, I would say this is reminiscent of Subway, but in a Pizzeria-style. You can order from the standards or you can build you own, made to order. Prices are reasonable but you should be prepared to wait at peak times.

Disclaimer: This was an amazing meal, graciously hosted by Firecrust. All opinions are my own.

Firecrust Neapolitan Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 13, 2016

TOY2016 - Provence Marinaside - October 13 – 27, 2016

Taste of Yaletown is sponsored by the Yaletown Business Improvement Association and is in their 12th year. This year, the event showcases 31 restaurants in the Yaletown area, with price points ranging from $25-45. Menus range from Italian, Vietnamese, Thai and West Coast, something for everyone. And as usual, YBIA will be making a donation to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank; they have raised over $11K since 2004!

Last night, I went for a tasting for the Taste of Yaletown preview at Provence Marinaside. Their menu for the two weeks is $45 with an extra $20 for wine pairings.

Their appetizer features three distinct different textures and flavours. Everything was good in their own way, but if I had to rank them, I'd say the House Smoked Ruby Red Trout was my favourite. It had a good hint of smoke and the trout was tender and smooth. 
The Pate was amazing as well, I actually ate my friend's portion, it was that good. So rich and creamy, it was really decadent. 
The Tomato and Bocconcini Salad is always a sure winner...I actually prefer bocconcini over burrata...I know, it's almost blasphemous. The Synchromesh Riesling was a refreshing wine to accompany this dish.

For the entrees, we got to try a tasting plate of all three choices. We started with the Dijon and Fresh Herb Crusted Lois Lake Steelhead Filet. This was served with a warm potato salad, some pickled onions and sautéed spinach. The fish itself was done perfectly but I found both the Dijon topping and the pickled onions a bit overpowering, but that's a personal comment. This was paired with the Vin Blanc by Evolve Cellars but it seemed a bit light with the rich flavours of the entree.

Our next entree was the West Coast Bouillabaisse, which I thought was the best dish of the night. There were prawns, scallops, clams and with, all served with a few fingerling potatoes. The best and most interactive part of the night was the crostini with gruyere and la rouille. When you're done with the yummy seafood, you make a little crostini topped with the cheese and the rouille (a reduction of the broth in the bouillabaisse). It's decadent and richly flavoured. Fun and delicious!

Our next dish was the Seared Bavette Steak. I have to admit I was a quite full at this point, but could still enjoy the beef. The little tartlet filled with zucchini and smoked tomato atop of the wilted baby kale was a great accompaniment. The warm mushroom made the dish even more earthy. The wine pairing of the Beau Vantage Cabernet Sauvignon was our only red wine of the night, a perfect pairing.

For dessert, we had a Lemon Tart (my fave!), as well as the Berry and Chocolate Clafoutis. There was also the Chocolate Cake and a Pumpkin Bailey Cheesecake.  

Disclaimer: This was an amazing dinner, graciously hosted by Taste of Yaletown. All opinions are my own. To make your reservations, please visit Provence Marinaside

Provence Marinaside Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tasting at Torafuku...

A few weeks ago, I went for dinner with some fellow foodies, Sherman, Nora and Jenn at Torafuku. The room is open concept with cozy booths and a long communal table. The vibe is very chill and is a great place for group get-togethers. We went on a Wednesday night, arriving as the doors opened. We stayed for three hours and by the end of the night, the room was packed with diners. The menu is eclectic loaded with lots of little appetizers and plenty of sharing plates. Be warned, this is one of my longest posts in a while!  

All the items have a very tongue-in-cheek'll see. We started off with “The World is Your Oyster”. Served individually in little jars. It's a shucked oyster with little bits of tempura for crunch, bonito flakes for flavour. I loved the edible flowers and there was a nice hit of freshness from the shallot and ginger salsa. This is a fun dish. When you open the lid, a wisp of smoke escapes and it's a very pretty presentation a well.

When you think of a sushi handroll, you don't think "pork". But that's exactly what “Get in My Belly" is! It's a sushi hand roll with juicy pork belly, pork floss and cucumber. It was seasoned with furikake, perhaps a bit overly so, since the dish was quite salty. Lots of pork, and even a bit of crackling too, and just a bit of rice, normally, there is a lack of filling, however, in this case, perhaps an extra bit of rice would have offset the saltiness. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night. 

I love corn, butter and popcorn! This “Miso Corny” starter had all of the above, talk about a homerun. The buttery grilled corn was highlighted with miso flavours and a sprinkling of togarashi. So good! I could have had the whole thing all to myself! 

You might not expect tacos at a Japanese restaurant, but give the “Taco Time” a try! Filled with pulled pork hock braised in miso, and topped with pickled onions, shallots, strips of nori and salsa verde, this is an explosion of flavours. Just a bit too salty, and I could probably use the double taco help balance everything out.

Buns...oh “Bun Me”...Chinese steamed buns are quite the rage at the moment, and there's a good reason for it. The buns are soft, supply and comforting. The beef brisket was tender, but the sheer size of the portion made it a bit difficult to eat. Just a few cuts and this would have been great since the cabbage and BBQ sauce gave the entire bite a good balance. It was more of a texture issue versus flavours. 

And now onto one of my favourite dishes of the night, the “Quack Addict”...BBQ Duck Spring Rolls. The meat was very tender and the addition of the carrots and enoki make for a great mouthfeel. The crispiness of the skin was great, and the plum sauce made each bite juicy and rich. 

The next dish was a challenge for me. I like my ramen hot and this "Lucky Tiger Ramen” was a bit off the beaten path for me. I'm not familiar with cold ramen (zaru soba, I'm good with), but this was definitely different for me. The noodles were cooked perfectly, with a good bite and loaded with cucumbers, sprouts and radish. And the soft boiled egg added a nice richness to the bowl. It's not something I'd re-order, but others at the table really enjoyed it. 

The next dish was awesome! I love these “Rye So Messy Chicken Wings”. If I didn't have to share, I think I could have eaten the whole, not really. The rendered skin held up against the zesty rye and gochujang marinade and didn't get soggy due to the mango glaze. The crispy ramen noodles gave the dish extra crunch too. It was a fun dish and I'd definitely order it again! 

As with all restaurants...they have to provide gluten free options...and they did this with the "Calamari The Way I Like It". The batter is gluten free and stayed crispy and crunchy. The squid was slightly chewy, good mouthfeel, flavoured with "angry tiger sauce". It wasn't spicy at all, just a hint of heat. I did like the corn served with it, as well as the pretty mushrooms, beans and edible flowers. 

Despite us saying that we didn't want any "veggie" plates, they surprised us with the "Veggie Tales", and I'm so glad they did! The pappardelle is made in-house, and it's topped with kale, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. The texture is enhanced by toasted hazelnuts and the richness comes from the parmesan and yuzu butter. It's also available as a gluten free option. You really don't miss the meat here at ALL!.

I'm not really caught up in the whole poke craze but we also did try the
"Dr. Octopus and Mr. Tuna". I had a small bite and I did like the spicy sauce and pickled veggies, and the rice was amazing. But since I'm not a huge fan of poke, I have little to offer in terms of comparison. 

Okay, this was another one of my favourite dishes..."Give a Dog a Bone". I love bone marrow and I also love beef luc lac. The combination of these two on a single dish was heavenly. I would have preferred a few bits of baguette to sop up the marrow, but I ended up using the buns from the bun me for that purpose. The flavours were astonishing rich and the marrow was so creamy. Must have. 

If you prefer fish, then do yourself a favour and order the "Don't Be So Cheeky". These halibut cheeks are super tender and done just right. The sake marinade and the veggies (mushrooms and apple) are a perfect complement. They don't overwhelm the dish but provides great texture to the dish. This would be perfect for my mom because she's just not a red meat eater. 

Next, we had another one of their housemade pasta, this was their "Unicorn". There was tasty, although the uni was just a touch less than what we expected. Thankfully for my friends, I'm not a huge fan so they managed to split the portion into thirds quite easily. I liked the pasta along with the clams, corn and fresh tomatoes.

The dessert was a mix of their offerings at the time and that menu changes frequently. We all thought the coffee flavoured one was excellent as was the cereal inspired version. These are delicate and best eaten quickly. 

This is a great place for a leisurely meal with a group of friends, and I'd go again to sample their constantly changing menu! Oh, and the drinks are fun and fabulous too! 

Disclaimer: Our meal (food and beverages) was complimentary. However, all opinions are my own.   Torafuku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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