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I <3 Niçoise

26 May

The Nicoise Salad is a fave of mine – I can eat it for days on end because not only is it delicious, filling without the guilt and colourful, but it adheres to the Mediterranean diet that is low-fat (or of healthy fat), a source of high quality, lean protein, and even supplies Omega-3 fatty acids. A bit of background here, it’s a specialty of the Côte d’Azur and named for the city of Nice.

Best place in Vancouver (I welcome your suggestions) and where I got hooked on it: Les Faux Bourgeois

This is my staple recipe, but feel free to sub tuna in olive oil with seared Ahi, or grilled chicken,  or cherry tomatoes for the larger variety. Haricot verts can be found in the frozen section at the Gourmet Warehouse and maybe Whole Foods.  There’s also a pasta version, if you want to serve it potluck style.

Bon Appétit!

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Since everyone’s at Cafe Medina right this moment…

5 Jun

It’s gorgeous today – sunny, cool and blue skies and fluffy clouds as far as the eye can see. What it really is, is perfect brunch weather. Before I even looked outside I knew what it was like, because pretty much every Vancouverite on my twitter feed was heading to Cafe Medina.

I’m not going to post a long review because it’d be redundant. Everyone raves about the waffles, muses over the food, gushes about the coffee and laments about the wait time.

My must eats/drinks:

    Lavender Latte – regular lattes will ever taste the same again. Delicate and fragrant, with 49th Parallel as the coffee of choice (Organic Epic Espresso). I’m off to conjure up some lavender syrup (simple syrup infused with lavender buds overnight. Touch of honey?)
    Waffles – it’s the Belgian waffles that everyone raves about. Toppings offered:
    Dark chocolate, Milk chocolate Lavender, White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater, Fig Orange Marmalade, Raspberry Caramel, Mixed Berry Compote. If you want the liege waffles at home, head to Patisserie Lebeau where they make it fresh or sell frozen. Available in the frozen section at Meinhardt, Capers, Choices, Urban Fare, Whole Foods. I recreated the fig orange marmalade in a post a few years ago and will be posting a blueberry lavender and a blueberry/limoncello compote recipe soon.
    Le Chasseur – A savoury dish of 2 fried eggs, bison sausage, wild boar bacon, braised potato, watercress, roasted tomato, green peppercorn and grilled foccaccia. This was devoured so fast that I didn’t have a chance to take a photo. Perfect for sharing.
    UPDATE: Went there for my Lavender Latte fix this morning – another sign that Cafe Medina really cares about it’s food? Besides making their own waffles, they make their own syrup for their coffees. Check out all the vanilla beans in there! Good stuff!

Meet you at 12B?

24 May

My co-worker told me that he went with a few friends to this underground restaurant, 12B, that’s all the rage in Vancouver, though this concept has been popular in HK for a while, and I’m sure elsewhere. Ever since coming into the light, I heard that the chef is booking 6 months in advance. Alas, that means that I won’t have the opportunity to try this place anytime soon, but here are some reviews to tide me (and you) over till then.

Global Peasant

Food and Tell

Greedyguts

Foodists

12B: A unique restaurant idea
Somewhere off Main St
Telephone: 778.389.7295
12breservations@gmail.com
Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings

Bring your own booze
By donation $65?

Buttermilk Biscuits & Maple Butter

19 May

If you’re a foodie, wherever you travel you want to try something new, unique or local. So when I went to NYC last week, I wanted to try something that hasn’t really been developed in Vancouver – the BBQ.

I mean we have great seafood, Japanese food (hey, Tojo invented the california roll!), the best Chinese food outside of Asia, and world renowned chefs here, but no authentic BBQ houses. I don’t mean steakhouses like Morton’s or Gotham, but BBQ in the southern US sense. And no, the Keg and Red Lobster don’t count.

So my friend took me to Virgil’s BBQ (the “original New York City barbecue restaurant”) in the heart of Times Square and I pigged out on BBQ nachos (nachos topped w/pulled pork, jalapenos, cheese, bbq sauce etc.), sliced Texas beef brisket, pulled pork, collard greens… and if I had more room and time I would have had cheese grits, potato salad, ribs, bbq chicken, cornbread ….

But what really blew my mind, was the homely Buttermilk Biscuits and Maple Butter. Didn’t look like much, but it was  plump, buttery and savoury… and the maple butter? Foodie orgasm.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits 

Serves 10

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
  4. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
  5. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
  6. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
  8. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick.
  9. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
  10. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
  11. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
  12. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
  13. Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
  14. Do not overbake.
  15. Note: The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.
  16. The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.
  17. I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there’s less chance of overmixing.
  18. You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.
  19. Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.
  20. Note 2: You can make these biscuits, cut them, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them for up to a month.
  21. When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.

Hot & Spicy Maple Butter for Biscuits

 Serve on buttermilk biscuits alongside your favorite barbecue.

SERVES 8

  1. Mix together butter, maple syrup and hot pepper sauce in bowl until well blended.
  2. Serve on buttermilk biscuits.

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Loves at Market by Jean Georges at the Shangri La

24 Feb

LOVE for Dinner:

  • Jasmine Lemonade
  • Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna w/Citrus-Sriracha Emulsion
  • Roasted Beets and Okanagan Goat Cheese w/Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Foie Gras Brule w/Dried Sour Cherries and White Port Gelee
  • Sablefish w/Nut and Seed Crust in Sweet and Sour Broth

Or go for the Market Menu for tasters of all the above (except the lemonade, which is to die for!). Lunch specials at the Market as well, or the 50 minutes $20 power lunch downstairs in the Lobby Lounge, which has more hearty food. Business casual.

Market by Jean Georges
Level 3
(1 604) 695 1115

Orgasmic cheese

27 Aug

Yes, you read it correctly. Orgasmic cheese… not organic.

Went to the Alibi Room last night and had the cheese platter. There was this nondescript semi soft cheese paired with a pile of roasted organic hazelnuts. I spread, took a bite, popped a hazelnut and 3 seconds later it was a nutty orgasm in my mouth. I have NEVER had such a reaction to any cheese before, and it beats out my current fave Beecher’s Flagship by miles.

The Tomme Gros Ille (Quebec) can be found at Mount Pleasant Cheese (new place, May 08) that specializes in Canadian Cheese.

Mount Pleasant Cheese
3432 Cambie Street (near the Park Theatre at West 18th Avenue)
Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W8
604-875-6363
Tues-Sun: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

aka TOMME DE GROSSE ISLE: – an organic mild semi soft texture cheese. I knew the french was off on that one. Thank you first year french.

Place to munch: Jules Bistro

9 Jul

Afternoons at Jules Bistro:

what: the Apres Midi Parisien

when: 230-530pm, Monday-Saturday

where: 216 Abbott Street

menu: limited, but French – chilled rose, champagne, croque monsieur with frites or salad, assiette de fromage (cheese plate), terrine de campagne (country terrine), chocolate terrine etc.

Thinking about: Liege Waffles and Fig-Orange Compote

22 May

Went to Cafe Medina on the weekend with Grouchy. Loved the Liege waffles and fig-orange compote. Grouchy purred over the blueberry compote. Sadly, their chef makes it and it’s not for sale. =(

Heard that compote goes well with gorgonzola cheese. Or on a baguette. Must try it.

Another good place for Liege waffles is Patisserie LeBeau (1708 West 2nd Avenue in between Fir & Pine). They are good enough to come out with their line of frozen waffles available at Capers. Delicious!

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Hot dogs

22 May

Everyone in Vancouver raves about the Japadog. But then, I’d have to travel to the downtown core to get it. That shouldn’t stop me because I go to Seattle for soup, bread, coffee and cheese.

Will try the Japadog. Years ago tried to go a gourmet ‘dog place and ended up at a place on Denman. Had a salmon dog. Ugh. Salmon burgers are delicious though… best patties are from Costco.. the Pacific Wild Salmon ones. Maybe ‘dogs are better dressed down.

Best dogs:

  • UBC Sub – hotdog place across from the arcade. I heard there have been developments so I don’t know if it’s still there. The Cheese Dog – it’s simple, really.. hot dog topped with shredded cheddar (or a mix?) and then steamed. Paired with a coke.I loved it so much that I still made trips there after grad to eat. At night though and on the weekends to avoid crowds. I feel so old.
  • Outside Future Shop on West Broadway (at Burrard) – there is a cart there. Jumbo cheese dog topped with grilled onions. Vendor recommended chipotle mayo on top. Lots of gourmet condiments aside from the traditional ketchup/mustard/relish. I’ve learned to always ask for recommendations from the vendor.

The Reuben/Ruben Sandwich

22 May

I had a craving for the ruben/reuben yesterday. Had it on the way back from Seattle, thought about it while writing the blog, was still thinking about it when I had a lack of lunch yesterday. Google searched and found that delis are lacking in Vancouver. What happened to that sandwich store that was so abundant about 10 years ago? It was green with children from the Sound of Music. Anyway…

Found it.
Pricey, but near my house.
From a Jewish deli?
Sure. Why not?

http://www.kaplans.ca/restaurant_menu.php

Next search… hot dogs….

UPDATE: June 9th, 2009. The BEST Reuben (and less greasy than Metropolitan Market in Seattle) with a side of dill potato salad can be found at:

Tomato Cafe
2486 Bayswater Street (at West Broadway)
604-874-6020

http://www.tomatofreshfoodcafe.com/