gracecheung604 | write on time: October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ten Ten Tapas - Grand Opening

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

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

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.
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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.
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This was the station that greeted'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. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Chinese Bites - O Grill Yakiniku

Another Signature Chinese Bites dinner! Although this one isn't really Chinese Bites, since it is at a Korean BBQ. However, we're not going to let a little technicality get in our way. grill This is the simple set-up, a grill with some water on the outer edges. There is a salt and pepper grinder, as well as some of the togarashi and a metal container of chopped green onions.  IMG_4258 While waiting for the grill to be heated, we were served some Chicken Karaage. The seasoning is simple, salt and pepper and some Chinese-style seasoning salt. These were a bit oily, and the chicken was a bit fatty but the crunch was unmistakeable. IMG_4262 We also got some Fried Squid and these were pretty good. I like the tentacles the best and there were plenty of it. The batter is lighter than the chicken, and I would order this over the chicken.  IMG_4265
I know these look a bit like fish balls, but they are actually Sweet Potato Balls. They are a little gooey, and the deep fried coating is lightly sweetened as well. Served with a bit of condensed milk and some crushed peanuts.They don't look like much, but they are actually quite addictive. IMG_4270 Another cooked item we tried was the Mixed Mushrooms. The main mushroom is the enoki, and then topped with some shimeji. The sauce is buttery but needed a bit of salt, which we thankfully had at our table! If you are a mushroom fan, you'll appreciate the earthiness of this mixture.  IMG_4267 We had some Beef Short Rib to start, and the two sauces are a basic barbecue and a Korean hot sauce. Add some of the chopped green onion available at the table to each for additional flavours. laceholder placeholder IMG_4274 The meats are thinly sliced and cook up quickly. They do stick to the grill a bit and be sure to turn them quickly before they are burnt. Just nudge them a bit and if they are sticking, leave it alone. But once they give, then give them a flip and get ready to eat! IMG_4278 This is the Pork Jowl/Cheek, and yes, with the large amount of fat present, flareups are to be expected. Some of the smoke can be a bit overpowering, their vents could be a bit stronger. Depending on where you sit, you can either freeze while eating, or get mouthfuls of smoke as your food cooks. Try to avoid sitting at the corner tables, that's where we were seated and we alternated being freezing cold and overwhelmed by smoke. IMG_4282 There are a few rice dishes on the menu, and this is their Minced Pork on Rice. The meat is seasoned well, with just a touch of sweetness. The rice benefits from the sauciness of the pork and makes for good comfort food.  IMG_4288 This is the Premium Beef Steak hitting the gril. The meats are frozen but keep your eye on it, they still cook quite quickly. Add a bit of salt when you add the meat and again when you flip it over, it's all you really need, despite the lack of marinade on the meat.  IMG_4293 pWe also tried two types of chicken, A Mild Spicy one and Basil one. The Basil one was marinated very well (as opposed to most of the beef and pork) and it was very delightful. The Spicy version was good as well, but paled in comparison to the basil version. IMG_4298 They also gave us some Shrimp, and they are great on the grill. Just a few minutes on each side and dunk into the sauces at your table. It's probably one of the least fattening items on the menu.  IMG_4299 In what I would consider the only real miss of the night, this is the Asparagus Salad. Sliced up asparagus with a bit of thousand island dressing. I wouldn't order this unless you are a huge fan of either.meats pWe also got some other meats, namely the Pork Belly, Toro Beef and something disturbing called Beef Fingers. The corn was a welcome vegetable, better than the asparagus salad, for sure. I decided to baste the corn with the pork belly, and it turned out to be an interesting experiment. Bacon-flavoured corn. The meats are pretty similar once cooked, I couldn't really tell them apart. IMG_4316 They gave us several dessert, and this is the Caramel Ice Cream (with bean powder). I don't know what bean powder is, but it didn't add much to the ice cream.  The ice cream didn't seem homemade, but the decoration made it work.  IMG_4317 This is the other dessert that stuck in my mind, their Mochi. It came with the same side sauce/topping as the sweet potato balls. Give the mochi a quick grill and dip into the sauce then peanuts. It works and lets you play with the grill right to the very end. They also have Smores for dessert! It would be so fun to play with that on the grill!

Take Note:

  • It can get smokey in there.
  • The meats are frequently served frozen, just throw it on the grill.
  • Make your sauce better with the green onion and ask for more if you need it.
**O Grill Yakiniku hosted Chinese Bites for this tasting but my opinions are my own.**

More reviews available here for Signature Dishes Tour Dinners

O Grill Yakiniku 炎燒日式燒烤 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Brown's Social House - Burnaby

Brown's in Burnaby is super close to my place, as are Earl's, Cactus Club and Joey's. Because they have Happy Hour specials everyday though, I find myself frequenting them more than the others. Oh sure, I'll still head to Earl's on Wing Wednesdays, but Cactus and Joey's have done nothing to ensure my repeat business though. This is a post of their appetizers. Click here for a post of lunch offerings.
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I do enjoy the Nachos here, they added extra cheese and made it ultra gooey, as per our request. While I prefer beef on my nachos, they don't do the ground beef version here, instead, we added the Chipotle and Lime Chicken. With more than enough jalapenos and other garnish on the plate, this was a rich dish and perfect for sharing.
2013-06-04 20.44.13 And this is the Tuna Stack, which we ordered because my mom is not really a meat-eater. Essetially a tuna tartar/ceviche appetizer with a hearty dose of avocado. The bread was a good accompaniment, but could have been toasted a bit more. The seafood/cocktail sauce on the bottom was pretty bland but thankfully, the tuna itself was flavourful enough. 
2013-09-15 17.19.41 And because they are on special everyday for just $6 (3-6pm), you have to get the Dry Ribs. Upon looking at this picture, it seems like a smaller than usual portion. Mental note, come back outside of these times to see if portion sizes are indeed different.
2013-09-15 17.19.32 The Chicken Wings on the other hand are healthier portion. And I know it looks like there are all wings (as requested), a few drumettes were hidden below. Light, crispy and well-seasoned, these are great because they are not overly oily.
2013-06-04 20.45.39 We just needed one more we opted for the Baby Back BBQ Pork Ribs. The BBQ sauce was a little gummy, but the meat itself was super tender, yes, "falling off the bone" tender. The sides were quite small. The coleslaw was really fresh, and I could have used just a bit more of it. To make the meal more substantial, you can choose to have pasta instead of the fries.

Take Note:

  • Cheap wings and ribs daily 3-6pm
  • $5 bellinis everyday
  • Brunch served on weekends, 10am-2pm

Browns Social House on Urbanspoon


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