gracecheung604 | write on time: February 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cotto Enoteca - Revisited

Now that it's a bit wet and cold here in Vancouver, it's a good time to go and revisit Cotto Enoteca for some comfort food. Pasta and Pizzas from a wood-burning oven...what better to warm you up, right?!Cotto Polpette - Cotto Enoteca Starting off with an appetizer of Cotto Polpette, our hunger was immediately satisfied. The house made meatballs are smothered in a tomato sauce, and served with a few pieces of baguette. I liked it better when these were served with pizza bread, but it will do for now. Affumicato - Cotto Enoteca In no time at all, our Affumicato pizza was delivered! A slightly crispy crust and a chewy base, this pizza was topped with both mozza and gorgonzola cheese. The meats were speck bacon and sopressata, which made each slice a bit too salty for me. But that's the nature of cured meats. I sprinkled on some additional parmesan as well as some chili flakes and really enjoyed it afterwards. Tagliatelle Frutti di Mare - Cotto Enoteca We also ordered a few pastas to share as well. For non-meat eaters, this Tagliatelle Frutti de Mare is perfect. As you can see, there are large chunks of salmon and halibut, as well as plenty of prawns and clams. It's a bit rich due the cream based alfredo, so it's best to share. The portion shown here is a "small" portion, but trust me, it's enough to satisfy!Pappardelle Carbonara - Cotto Enoteca
I am definitely a fan of long pastas (as opposed to penne, farfelle or fusilli) so I just had to reorder my all time favourite, Pappardelle Carbonara. I order this every time I come, from the first "soft opening" to now, and have never been disappointed. The noodles are thick and slippery, flavoured by the clingy cheesy and eggy sauce. Bits of pancetta and garlic studded the dish, and the Dessert - Cotto EnotecaAnd for a sweet finish, the Budino. I'm not normally a sweets person, but this light butterscotch pudding was really good, not overly sweet and when combined with a layer of chocolate mousse, it had a very light airy feel. I do love the honeycomb crumble, and actually, I love lots of honeycomb. The one savory flavour in this was the salted rosemary caramel, which was highlighted by the fresh sprig of rosemary. It's perfect for sharing and goes well with an espresso, or maybe glass of grappa...
Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Penang Delight-FUL!

I've been wanting to try Penang Cafe every time I visit Kimura on Rupert. It's always packed and the aromas wafting out whenever the door opens is amazing! My mom is a bit hesitant to try new places, but my stepdad is more than willing treat his tastebuds to new things. So with my mom visiting my sister in Hong Kong, I kidnapped my stepdad and we headed to there for a new taste experience! Penang Delight - Hainese ChickenWe started off with the basics...their Hainanese Chicken. The chicken is flavourful, with a bit of soy and some sesame oil as well. The chicken is deboned and makes it easier to inhale. I'm not a fan of chicken skin and the steaming method of cooking makes it so easy to peel the skin off. It's flavourful (yes, I snuck a few pieces in) but I just can't get over the texture of the skin.
Panang Delight - chicken_coconut rice And if you get Hainanese Chicken, it's almost de facto that you partner that up with rice...and Penang Delight offers both Coconut Rice and Chicken Rice Because we couldn't decide, we opted for one of each. The Coconut Rice on the left is fragrant with coconut milk, and although you might worry that the rice comes out "sweet", it doesn't. The aroma is sweet but the rice itself has be bit of salt in it to make it as savoury as you'd expect. The Chicken Rice is rich...instead of making rice with water, the liquid used for this is the chicken broth from the poaching of the chicken. Yes, it's a bit fatty, and thus, the colour of the chicken rice, just a bit darker that you'd expect. The flavours from stir-frying the rice with some garlic and ginger before adding the stock make the rice perfectly toasted and so rich.Penang Delight - Hokkian Mee Another classic dish is the Hokkian Mee, sorry the KL Hokkian Mee (KL=Kuala Lampur).  It's reminiscent of a classic Shanghainese dish. Thick noodles smothered in a rich sauce made with oyster sauce and soy sauce, tossed with veggies, pork, chicken and a few shrimp. It's not rocket science, but it's one of those things that is truly "greater than the sum of its parts". Add a bit of sambal chili paste to it for a kick and it's perfect! Penang Cafe Bak But TehAnd after all the rice and noodles, we decided to scale things back with a nice mellow soup, Bak Kut Teh. It's a slow cooked pork bone soup that is meaty in flavour but surprisingly light in texture. As you can see, there are a few bits of veggies, tofu and mushroom added to the mix, but the star ingredient is the pork bones. Ask for a bit of soy sauce on the side to dip these meat morsels in, you'll love it. The soup is hearty, rich and flavourful...a delightful way to end your meal.
I do need to revisit this place soon as I was remiss in not ordering their Roti Canai, which I love, and many have told me that it's a "must try". Perhaps I'll just do a takeout order next time I'm in the area!
Penang Delight Cafe 馬來檳城美食 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Cattle Cafe

It was late and I wasn't really hungry, but I did have a craving for something sweet. I was sick and tired of the old tried and true, Earls, Keg, and Cactus Club. Deciding to go for something Asian...Cattle Cafe was calling me...
Curry Fish Balls - Cattle Cafe Curry Fish Balls, a night market staple, and now, available in Burnaby...way too close to my place. I don't really like the presentation, I prefer them in a bowl so as to keep them warmer. The balls had a good bounce, but the curry sauce could have been spicier...I expected an even dozen, but as you can see, we only got 11...weird, right?
Mango Shake with Grass Jelly - Cattle Cafe Now this isn't something I would normally order, but the Mango Shake with Grass Jelly was actually really refreshing after the fish balls. Creamy, cold, sweet with a few chunks of jelly. It's so creamy and I have to say, it's a decadent treat...just once in a while...Fish Noodles - Cattle Cafe This was a new treat for me...Sliced Beef Satay Hand Squeezed Fish Noodles. Even though it's noodles made of fish, it's actually not fishy at all! The texture is a bit chewy, almost al dente. The satay soup was spicy, but not hot, flavourful and really right. The beef soaked up the soup and made the meat super tender.
Turnip Cake  - Cattle Cafe One of the things I like about Cattle Cafe is the fact that you can add little snacks to their soup noodles to round out your meal. This was my add-on for the night...Pan-Fried Turnip Cake. With just a bit of onions and some spices, these cubes were crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Flavours were a bit mild, but good enough as a snack...
Bubble Waffle - Cattle Cafe Ok, so remember at the beginning of the post, when I said I had a craving for something sweet? So...everything I ate up until this golden Bubble Waffle showed up was just gravy. This was the whole point for the entire visit. And yes, it was worth it. Just a little crispy, soft and chewy on the inside...I really should just get this to go next time and avoid all the noodles and snacks! Nah, who am I kidding, the dessert is totally worth the wait!
Cattle Cafe 牛仔餐廳 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

1st Time at Mr. Red Cafe

Hi again! Thanks for revisiting my blog, which I have shamefully neglected for the past few months. I've been working a few jobs and I just couldn't find the time or energy to return to blogging. However, in the past few months, I've figured out how to balance everything and I am going to make this blog a priority again. I might not post daily like the totally dedicated Sherman, but I endeavour to blog at least once a week! Not a bad start...
Even when I wasn't blogging, I was still eating and continued to take photos of all the meals that I've enjoyed. It's these photos that I will be featuring for the first few posts. Enjoy!

I've been hearing great things about Mr. Red Cafe and I finally had a chance to try it for brunch. Every review I've read says how different they are from your everyday pho places...and boy, were they right! IMG_2683 We started with their Pho Cuon, a delicate rice noodle roll filled with stir-fried beef, basil and basil. The rice noodles had the cutest pattern on them, and the filling inside was even better. The beef was cooked perfectly so as not to be chewy and the herbs really added a level of freshness to the roll. Instead of dipping the rolled into the sauce, I spooned it onto the roll in my bowl so as not to miss out on any of the filling. Oh, and it's a deal for just $5! IMG_2678 Before the next "food" dish came, we decided to check out the various sauces they had available on the table. They have the usual "cock" sauce and the chili seed oil, both favourites of mine. The one new item for me was the vinegar with chilies and garlic...spicy, tangy and so tasty. IMG_2685 Next up was another new item for me, (boy, have I been limited in my Viet food culture), and it was like nothing I've very tried before in a Vietnamese restaurant. It's called with Pate Ga, and is a pretty good deal for $7. It's hard to understand at first, but when you mix all the textures and flavours together, consisting of a layer of sticky rice, topped with mung beans, layered with some chicken chunks, pate, and deep fried shallots, it sort of dawns on's an open-faced Chinese "jong". The flavours and fillings are similar, just in a brand new presentation! Despite my need for heat, I actually didn't feel the desire to put any sauces on to this dish. I wouldn't recommend it as a main course for one due to the mildness of the flavours, but it's definitely fun to share as an appetizer. IMG_2689 We also tried their Chef's Special, Bún chả giò thịt nướng, (yes, I had to take a pic and transcribe it). But it's amazing, albeit a little pricey at $13.50. However, it is LOADED with stuff. Atop a healthy serving of vermicelli, there is a crab meat spring roll, deep fried tofu, grilled and crispy pork, not to mention the usual suspects of cucumber, sprouts, mint and cilantro. Add a bit of the nuoc nam, give it a toss and make your tummy happy. The noodles gets a salty flavour with the sauce and still have a bite to them. The tofu and spring rolls both maintain their crunch, and the pork provides just the chewiness you're craving. IMG_2691 Another dish that is often bastardized is the Bun Bo Hue. I have to admit, I do like my pork hock and am always disappointed when various establishments serve theirs with Vietnamese ham, pork tendon, flank and the occasional beef ball. They just make the soup base hot with chili oil and serve it with "spaghetti-style or lai-fun" noodles versus pho noodles and hope you'll be happy. But this place is pure authentic...complete with pork hock and pig's blood! I had to pass on the pig's blood, it's a bit too foreign for me, but every other ingredient of that dish was devoured very happily, even though my lips were burning, just a bit from the heat of the soup. And I only put three of the vinegar-ed chilies in my soup! IMG_2693
I guess after all that, it's best to cool off with a nice Iced Vietnamese Coffee...too sweet for me, but I could do a sip or two. Next time, I'll ask for half the condensed milk... Service here is great, very patient, friendly and super helpful if you're not sure what you want. Best tip? Take a look at what other people are eating and if you think you'll like it...just point and order! I'll be returning soon to try their dumplings, as well as other goodies, like their chicken wings!

Mr. Red Cafe on Urbanspoon


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