gracecheung604 | write on time: January 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#GoAlexGo - Bocuse d'or

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At the end of this month (January 29 & 30), Chef Alex Chen, the culinary architect at Moxie's Grill and Bar will be competing in Lyon, France to compete against the best chefs from twenty-four countries. After months of preparation, it all comes down to these forty-eight hours! We were invited to Railtown Cafe, where the catering kitchen has been transformed into his private Bocuse d’Or Test Kitchen.
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Chef Daniel Craig of Ebo Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby is flipping some of the fish for the first course. And Chef Alex Chen is on the right. Here they are making our French turbot entree. 
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The competition requires the chefs to make a Fish dish as well as a Meat dish. The chosen fish is the French Turbot, and judging from a few of the other plates I saw around me, I think I scored the biggest piece of turbot that day. Although the flavour of the fish is quite delicate, the seared outer crust was very crispy and well-charred. Also on the plate were Saffron Potatoes and a Cauliflower Puree. Lobster used three-ways, first, it was Butter Poached, and there was a bit of Lobster Hollandaise, as well as a lighter Lobster Vinaigrette. Presentation was also very delicate and artistic. 
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And now, onto our Meat Dish, a Roasted Beef Tenderloin Roulade with Bone Marrow. And rounding out the plate were Seared Foie Gras, pretty Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Shaved Black Truffles. On, and I can't say enough about the Potato Gratin with that layer of Ox Tail in between. The beef with the marrow and foie gras was so decadent, but despite the heaviness of the ingredients, I was able to finish the whole serving. But then again, I love all three ingredients so having them altogether was heaven for me. The truffle and mushrooms gave the dish an earthy balance.
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Now, here is a close up of the Ox Tail Gratin, can you see how finely sliced the potatoes are? This was really well done and the ox tail was braised til it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. I could have eaten a few of these. And I now have to remind myself to give this side dish a try at home.
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For dessert, we had some of Railtown Cafe's delicious Macarons. This is the cherry filled vanilla one but there was another Maple flavoured one as well.
For a chance to win an exclusive Moxie's and Bocuse d'or prize pack worth $200, simply Send Alex Your Best Wishes  Railtown Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Faves from Black + Blue of Glowbal Group for Dine Out Vancouver

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In the second stop of my Glowbal Group Dine Out Preview, we headed to Black + Blue, half a few steps away from Coast, where we started off the night.  Potato Leek Soup Between the Green Goddess Watercress Salad and the Truffle Potato Leek Soup, this one was the winner. Although the salad was good, something about soup in the cold weather just seems right. The rich creaminess of the soup was so decadent and velvety smooth, I really wanted more than just the tasting portion. The addition of the chive oil just brought out the flavours of the leek even more.   Blue Ribbon Cottage Pie 3 Their best entree of the night by far was the Blue Ribbon Cottage Pie. Think of this as a higher-end Shepherd's Pie. Instead of plain old ground beef, then used a PEI Blue Ribbon ground beef, and instead of your usual mashed potatoes, they elevated it with a bit of Parmesan. Add to that a massive amount of peas, carrots and gravy, you have a truly spectacular dish. This was way too much for me, probably because I had already had a meal at Coast, but be prepared to take a nap after consuming this.  Pan Seared Salmon The other entree that stood out for me was their Pan Seared Roasted Salmon. The parsnip puree was nothing spectacular and the crispy chips on top was fun, but the star of the dish was the salmon. The skin is light and crunchy and the salmon had the flakiness that I absolutely love about fish. Creamed Corn As with Coast, there are add-ons that you can get, and for my money, go for the Creamed Corn. The corn kernels are kept intact, and the creaminess comes from the cream/milk and the sweetness comes from a sprinkling of sugar, but integral to this dish is the fried jalapenos. They give a bit of heat to an otherwise overly sweet dish. You'll be surprised by the heat, but you'll love it!  
Black + Blue on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Faves from Coast of Glowbal Group for Dine Out Vancouver

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I was lucky enough to be invited to the Glowbal Group's Dine Out preview earlier this week and here are some of my favourite picks from Coast. Check my picks from Black and Blue here.  Salmon 6 We started off at Coast where we had both appetizers, but the Salmon Tartar was my favourite (the other was a Bay Scallop & Clam Chowder). I liked this dish from Chef Pedro because the vinaigrette made with galangal and lime was just so refreshing. The salmon was marinated nicely and the chunks were just the right size.Snapper The entree the won my heart was the Grilled Snapper. The vegetables a la grecque was a nice light accompaniment to the rich buttery fish, but the citrus beurre blanc really made the dish. The skin was crispy, and I loved the fact that they served it "skin on". The fish was cooked just right and it was fork tender and flaked easily. Alberta Beef 2 My second favourite of their three entrees was the Grilled Alberta Beef, "Oscar Style". Instead of asparagus, they substituted it with charred peppers, and they replaced the crab bearnaise with a prawn bearnaise. What I really like wasn't so much the accompaniments, it was the fact that the beef was cooked perfectly. Scallop They have some add-ons to their Dine Out menu and I have to admit, I was a little surprised that Rosemary Scallops was an add-on, I actually expected something like this to be an appetizer option. But if you do have are hungry enough and want to add something to your dinner, this is the way to go.  Prawn Mashed Potato They do have another comfort food side, Prawn Mashed Potatoes. And this dish is perfect for someone looking for a bit of comfort with their Dine Out meal. The potatoes are creamy and you can definitely taste the prawn flavour in this little side dish. If you got the Alberta Beef and wanted something hearty to go with it, then this is perfect! 
Coast Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Hamburger and Tacos at Havana

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This was my first visit to Havana on Commercial Drive and I had no idea what to expect. I had planned to try it a while ago with my parents, but never actually made it down there.
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We started off with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and I really loved the label on this wine. Their wine list is quite reasonable and they also have a lot of cocktails, sangria and martinis too.IMG_1770 This is the Beef Taco, and is made with slow cooked beef, tender to the point of pulled pork goodness. There is some lettuce, pico de gallo and a dollop of sour cream on the bottom. This baby is messy but I would say it is worth the effort. Lots of beef! 
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And here is half a Latin Burger, with a six ounce beef patty, turkey sausage, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo and avocado guacamole, all topped with a pickle too. The burger was actually quite moist, and I liked the plentiful veggie inside. The turkey sausage was nice and lean, but it was probably a bit of overkill along with the bacon. I didn't even try to eat this thing properly, it was definitely a knife and fork deal for me. I think I would skip the guacamole next time, and ease up on the mayo too.

Take note:


  • Massive menu
  • Breakfast daily until 2pm
  • Fun Havana-style cocktails and sangria too


Havana Restaurant & Gallery on Urbanspoon

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