gracecheung604 | write on time: 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lunch at Gotham

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A few weeks ago, I decided to head over to Gotham's for lunch for the very first time. Though I've been there for dinner and parties, I've never really thought of it as a lunch spot. 2013-10-30 13.22.31
I know this is weird, but for some reason, we didn't order steaks, even though they are know as a steakhouse. Instead, we started off with the Salmon Cakes, which were a bit mealy and more filler than salmon. I don't think I have to say anything about the fries, they were flaccid and unseasoned. This was a disappointing start but we hoped it would get better. 2013-10-30 13.22.58 Our next arrival was the Lobster Cobb Salad, and this was amazing. Loaded with lettuce, bacon, blue cheese and avocado, this would have been a great salad on its own. Add that half a lobster on there and you've got a winner. We asked for the dressing on the side,  but truth be told, we hardly needed it. One thing I was surprised by was the greenish ring around the hard boiled egg. We were there for lunch, I'd say around noon. How long does it take for a ring like that to form on an egg?  Ahi Tuna Gotham 2 Now, another appetizer dish, their Black and Blue Ahi Tuna. It's served simply seared with a bit of soya sauce and wasabi. I really like the crust on this and found the portion to be rather generous as well. I could have had thinner slices though, as these were a touch too thick. Steak Tartare Gotham And our final dish was our only meat dish, and that was the Prime Rib Tartare. It's hand chopped, topped with two whole anchovies! If you like steak tartare, I'd say it's one of the best in the city. The beef is well seasoned with onions, capers and made super creamy with the egg yolks. The bread was nice and soft and made for an excellent vessel for the beef.

Take Note:


  • Great patio in the back on sunny days
  • Solid salads, generous portions
  • Save room for the Key Lime Pie


Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Downtown Eats: Keg on Dunsmuir

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After The Shore Club closed earlier this year, it was slated to be reinvented as The Keg. I finally paid a visit for lunch last month, and I'd say that most of the decor remained the same, but it had been slightly "keg-afied". The entrance wasn't very well organized, as there was a lineup out the door at lunchtime, despite a fairly empty restaurant inside. It seems as though there are a lot of hostesses manning the entry, but not enough people to actually bring people to their table. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon.
2013-10-09 12.41.20 Instead of the usual basket where the bread is encased in, the bread here is simply served on a place. And it's not as crusty as I remember. But at least it is served piping hot! 
2013-10-09 12.50.52 One thing that I've always loved the Keg for is their French Onion Soup. IMHO, it's the best in the city. I like my cheese just a bit burnt, and I always ask for extra cheese. They never disappoint and this was the case again. Their broth isn't too salty, and there are loads of onions and the gooey cheese is amazing. This is a perfect way to ward off any winter chills. 
2013-10-09 12.50.16 For my main, and to be slightly healthy, I opted for the Steak Sandwich with a side Caesar. I asked for a light dressing on the Caesar instead of dressing on the side, since the thick dressing makes it harder to DIY.
2013-10-09 12.50.25 The open-faced sandwich was loaded with sliced medium rare steak and a generous portion of cremini mushrooms. The bread had a nice char on it, but regrettably, I passed on it and just devoured the steak and mushrooms. This isn't so much due to an effort to avoid carbs as a result of the fact that open-faced sandwiches always confuse me. I find it weird eating a sandwich with a knife and fork.

Take Note:


  • Making reservations doesnt mean you'll get seated faster
  • Staff seem fairly new and slightly inexperienced
  • Avoid the Keg Dog 


The Keg Steakhouse & Bar - Dunsmuir on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dinesty on Robson

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The new location of Dinesty has been opened for a few months now, and I was delighted to give it a try with some friends last month. I have been to the Richmond location several times, and hoped that the food would be just as good. xlb dinesty robson We started off with the Xiao Long Baos (obviously), since it's a tradition at most Shanghainese places, sometimes for dinner but always for lunch! As with the Richmond locations, these are deliciously soupy, and the skin is just chewy enough to hold all the delicious pork and soup inside. sui mai dinesty robson Another steamer basket arrived filled with Shrimp and Pork Siu Mai. The pork layer is on the bottom with the shrimp on top. I found the pork a bit dry but the shrimp was nice and juicy. I tend to deconstruct my food when I am eating, so it might have been just fine if I ate it as it was served. chicken asparagus dinesty robsonThis dish is new to me, it's Deep Fried Chicken With Asparagus And Ham. The coating on this was nice and light, and the chicken was really juicy. I didn't find the mayonnaise sauce necessary as the chicken had enough seasoning. I did, however, use some hot sauce to give this dish a bit more punch. It's a fairly large portion, but the beauty is that it can be packed as leftovers quite easily. potstickers dinesty robson Our final savoury dish was the Pork Potstickers. I loved the presentation, love how they fry all the potstickers together and serve it as one gigantic dish. And lots of extra crispiness, which I always appreciate. The potstickers are larger than normal, about 3-4 inches long, The filling to wrapper ratio is good, although I could used a bit of more of ginger in the filling. sesame bun dinesty robson For dessert, we got the Black Sesame Buns. These were really good, with lots of black sesame on the inside. The bun is soft and the whole package is a warm handful. It's probably too filling after a full lunch, but it's still a good treat. Eat half and share with a friend.

Take Note:


  • Go before noon to avoid long lines
  • Avoid the lunch "Specials" menu, it's reminiscent of mall food court dishes
  • Service is quick and it's a good option for a quick lunch 


  Dinesty Chinese Restaurant 聚 (on Robson) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Mosaic Tasting

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After an amaing Spot Prawn Tasting Menu back in Spring, I've been looking forward to revisiting Mosaic and try their new Fall menu. I went last week with Sherman and we got to try "almost" everything on the new menu. 
IMG_4458 First up is the Apple and Roasted Chestnut Bisque. It is served tableside, but before they pour the bisque, you can see all the delicate fall treats inside, including apples, mushrooms and pumpkin. The presentation is pretty, vibrant and rustic. 
IMG_4463 The finished product has a pretty yin and yang effect. The creme fraiche has a spiciness to it, and blends well with the rich and creamy bisque. This dish is a rich, soothing and full of fall comfort. 
IMG_4469 Then we were served a Duo of Salads. First was a Beet Salad. On the right side of the plate is some pumpernickel soil, more beets, crumbled goat cheese. Dead centre in the plate is a bed of beet vinaigrette and a light and fluffy beet foam. The flavours were quite delicate, with the goat cheese being the strongest. The soil is slightly sweet and enhances the beets flavour and texture. On a side note, the beet foam totally looked like a mooncake to me. 
IMG_4472 The Fall Salad was the other one we sampled, and it had baby carrots, more beets, a few turnips and endive as well. The puree is made with butternut squash and is suprisingly light. There is also a bit of zingy tangerine dressing and a chive flavoured gel.
IMG_4482 For those who want their veggies deep fried, Chef Heinrich has you covered with the Crispy Brussels Sprouts, topped with a crunchy pork belly, a scotched egg, and edible flowers. Whenever pork belly and deep fried goodness get together, the result is usually amazing, and that was certainly true in this case as well. The egg was a little odd, as it lacked the meat layer. The quincy jelly was really flavourful, fruity and served to evoked feelings of autumn. 
IMG_4487 Our next dish was Alaskan King Crab. This was served with pickled shimeji, a smear of leek puree and some crispy, fried leeks. The butter poached king crab was very sweet and was a great contrast to the pickled mushrooms. I really enjoyed the crispy leeks too. These mushrooms are just too precious.
IMG_4491 Next up were two fish dishes, the first being the Ling Cod. The Lobster Pomme Puree was buttery but light. The fish was perfectly cooked, flaking easily with a fork but with a nice crusty sear on the outside. The sweet beets and beet jus completed the dish nicely, in taste and visually as well. 
IMG_4495 . Our Skoona Bay Salmon was nestled perfectly atop a bed of truffle mushroom risotto and swiss chards. There was some mushroom puree and shaved truffles too. A hearty dish with an earthy aroma that hits you as the plate descends onto the table. 
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A dish that would satisfy any vegan is the Cauliflower Cake. In addition to cauliflower, there are assorted root veggies, (yes, the baby corn again) as well as come corn. To give the dish some sweetness, there was also dates, drunken dates which were super sweet! 
IMG_4502 And if you are not a vegan, you'll appreciate this dish of Sous Vide Lamb, with a walnut crust. We found the crust to be a bit crumbly to eat, but the texture of the lamb was super tender. Some pumpkin, buttternut squash and broccolini rabe finished off the dish. The sauce is a simple lamb jus. 
IMG_4505 Two dessert options were presented, and I really liked the Salted Chocolate Pear & White Chocolate Mousse. It was light in texture but had a good depth of pear flavour. It's topped by a bit of port wine gellee.
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Our final place was the Pumpkin Creme Brulee, and although, I was stuffed, I couldn't resist trying a bit of the biscotti. And once I had the biscotti in my hand, I couldn't resist dipping it into the brulee. It wasn't as sweet as I expected, which I appreciated, and the crunchy sugary coating had a very caramel flavour.

Take Note:


  • The chef like to change the menu to reflect the best of the season
  • Lots of playful and inventive plating ideas
  • Great options for vegetarians, gluten-free guests too 

Mosaic Grille & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ten Ten Tapas - Grand Opening

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Although Ten Ten Tapas has been open for a few months now, they held their Grand Opening Party just a few weeks ago. Located at 1010 Burrard, the place is gorgeous with breathtaking views. All the menu items are meant for sharing and we got to sample a few signature items.  IMG_4446 Our first bite was the Vegetarian Spring Rolls. The skin was nice and crispy, and I enjoyed the freshness of the mixed veggies inside the crunchy exterior. The dressing was tangy and complemented the salty shell nicely.   IMG_4445 The next dish was the Shrimp Parcel, delicate little shrimp wontons topped with a ponzu-siracha glaze. These bite-sized morsels are great for cocktail parties, since they are easy to pop into your mouth, one bite wonders!  IMG_4443
A more substantial offering was the Mini Beef Wellingtons. These pastry wrapped beef bites was served with a red wine jus and a touch of grainy dijon mustard. Although they look tiny, these are quite filling.  IMG_4447 The last item I sampled was the Coconut Prawns. These had a light coconut coating and had a bit of sweet chili sauce drizzled on top. Deep fried to a golden crisp, the coconut flavour is quite mild. I am not usually a fan of coconut, but in this version, I quite enjoyed it! 

Take note:


  • Dinner nightly, but closed on Tuesdays, Weekend Brunch
  • Gorgeous views
  • Heated outdoor patio
Ten Ten Tapas on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 21, 2013

Charlie's Little Italian - The New Habit

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After Habit closed, the Cascade Company resurrected the place as Charlie's Little Italian. It's a much more casual place than before, and serves up traditional Italian fare. A group of us decided to visit last month, and I was pleasantly surprised. The menu has about 20 dishes, excluding sides. There are lots of antipasti, pastas, and a few meaty mains. They do have daily specials that helps to break up the monotony for regulars. IMG_4419 Upon being seated, we were given a few complimentary servings of Fried Bread. This is topped with a bit of parmesan, a sprinkling of chillies and some herbs. The flavour is really mild, and the bread is just a touch oily, but the chewy texture won me over. It's a cross between pita and naan. IMG_4421For starters, we tried a few of their Antipasti, the first to arrive was the Mussels Arrabiata. The tomato based broth has some roasted red peppers in it, as well as a light touch of chilli. The flavour is quite light, and allows the sweet ocean flavour of the mussels to come through. The mussels were quite meaty and the foccacia was perfect for mopping up the extra sauce. IMG_4422
A special of the night was their Burrata. It looked super unctuous and creamy, and the pairing with the slightly bitter greens really helps to cut the richness of the cheese. The grilled bread was a perfect "plate" for this appetizer. IMG_4425 One of the things I love about eating Italian is their penchant for having a pasta as a Primi. Because I can't actually have a pasta plus a Secondi, the folks at Charlie's were nice enough to split their full serving of Linguine Carbonara into two appetizer-sized servings. There was a creaminess from the free-range egg and the guanciale gave the entire dish a smokey salty flavour. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente, but man, it's rich. I'd recommend splitting this with a friend as an appetizer because a full plate of this would easily put you into a total food coma. IMG_4433 Of the seven pastas Charlie's serves, our waitress told us that only two are actually made in house. I was a little surprised, but nevertheless, this is one of the two, their Lasagna. The layers are filled with three types of meat; pork, beef and sausage as well as some mushroom. The cheese layer has ricotta as well as hints of spinach. It's rather traditional but I loved the multitude of layers. When I make this at home, I am lazy and only do three layers, meat, then cheese and then more meat. I was surprised by the presentation, I had expected it to be served in their own baking dish. The oil on the plate also threw me off. IMG_4432 The only other pasta that is made "in-house" is their Cannelloni. It's a rich dish loaded with everything you get in the lasagna, minus the three meats. The sauce is a pomodoro and is lighter that the lasagna sauce. I'm not a fan of stuffed pastas, but the consensus was that this was actually pretty good. 
IMG_4431 One of the Secondi items we tried was the Game Hen. For this entree, you are served a breast of hen as well as a leg. Although it was supposed to be a confit leg, there wasn't any crispiness to the skin, although there was plenty of flavour. The potato gnocchi is seared well and develops a nice crust. Beneath the hen are bundles of kale and soft, roasted red peppers. Other than the skin of the leg being rather soft, the dish was a winner.2013-10-11 19.41.10 As I mentioned earlier, they do have a few specials each night, and tonight, they had a Pork Chop. This was served with a Roman Gnocchi, essentially a regular gnocchi with a touch of ricotta. The texture of the gnocchi was a lot creamier than the regular gnocchi and actually reminded me of polenta, but with a crust. The pork chop itself was a bit fatty, as you can see on the right hand side of the plate. Once you remove the fat though, the rest of chop was really juicy. The mushroom flavoured sauce was creamy and earthy, I could have used more of it, to soak up the gnocchi.

Take Note:


  • Service is good although some staff aren't as knowledgeable about the menu as you would hope.
  • Dinner nightly and Brunch on weekends. 
  • Menu is limited but a good start for now.

Charlie's Little Italian on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Samsung Slide-in Flex Duo Range

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Last week, I was invited to Yew at the Four Seasons to watch Chef Ned Bell showcase the new Samsung Slide-in Flex Duo Range. It's a new item that will really appeal to all the extreme dinner party hostesses out there.
2013-10-03 16.01.19
Instead of getting a dual wall over, you can now get one oven that can cook at two different temperatures. The compartments are adjustable, and there is no flavour transfer between the two sections! Genius! Image 3 There are a total of five burners, one triple, three singles and a warming burner as well. The warming burner is great when you're not quite ready to serve, but you don't want to keep reducing a sauce. It's one thing I miss about my old stove.   Image 2
I also loved the sleekness of the design as well as the giant knobs. This image is making me hate my standard issue Whirlpool stove that came with my apartment. The controls have a bit of intuition too, it actually eliminates choices for your when you start making selections. Once you've selected certain options, others will not illuminate so that you can't make the wrong choices.
2013-10-03 16.32.32
This was the station that greeted us...it's sall about the Passion for Fresh! Fortunately, there weren't any utensils, so we couldn't do too much damage to ourselves!  2013-10-03 17.12.00 Chef Ned Bell fileted two fish, a Steelhead Trout and a Salmon. He then used the oven to showcase how the two compartments work. He caramelized one with heat on the bottom and the other one was broiled. You can really see the difference when they come out of the oven.  2013-10-03 17.47.52 After the cooking demonstration, we were treated to a dinner at Yew where Chef Ned Bell made us dinner. Unfortunately, I had to leave early but I did manage to try the first course! This was the Ocean Humpback Shrimp, there is a bit of kale pesto, a lots of crispy kale. There was a hint of a yogurt dressing but the start was defintely the shrimp. They were bouncy, sweet and cooked perfectly! This was all I got to eat that night, but I think it was a great bite!  2013-10-08 16.58.37 The fine fold from Samsung also gave us some swag. How did they know that my bambook cutting board was cracking? Oh, and the oven mitt will definitely come in handy too.

The Duo Range is about $2700 and honestly, if I could afford it, I would buy this in a minute. 

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