November 2013 ~ Eating With Kirby

Mosaic Bar and Grille- Italian Chef Tasting Menu

The barely cooked runny yolk is meant to be popped and enjoyed along with the risotto...and enjoy I did. The golden lava coated every kernel of rice with its warm embrace and made the risotto that much more comforting.

Adorabelle Tea Room- Catching Up With the Girls

This is an Onion, Chive, and Bacon Savoury Cupcake. Even the icing was savoury! It was super delicious and was really innovative. Overall, the ambiance was great (loved the fake sky ceiling!), food was well thought out and executed, and the service was attentive.

Forage- Pretty Decent Food.

All six of us ordered their Award Winning Seafood Chowder with soft poached quail egg and crispy pork rind. While the soup was smokey, full of flavour, it was too thick and tasted a bit more like sauce than soup. The quail egg added a certain richness to the soup too which was nice.

Jethro's Fine Grub- That's Some Tasty Grub.

Overall, Jethro’s is an awesome breakfast and lunch diner serving up good eats with a twist. I most definitely will return for some alligator nuggets or pancakes!

Teppan Kitchen and Mambo Cafe (Aberdeen Food Court)- Crazy Sauce.

They serve this to you with a little sleeve around the plate to catch any splattering oil that radiates from the oven hot iron plate. If you are noob (hehe) at this Teppan Rice business, you can read the "How To Cook" instructions on the sleeve.

Basho Cafe - Quaint, Cozy, Delicious

You get the real deal here when it comes to their Matcha Latte. Served in a traditional Japanese bowl the way its suppose to be (not cup), its not only fragrant but it has incredibly depth. Be forewarn, this latte isn't sweet. There is no additional pre-sweetened sugary stuff here.

24 November 2013

Elements (Whistler) - MEGA Stuffed French Toast

This post is long overdue because it was from my whistler trip a couple of months ago. However, I think it deserves to be posted because I know many people know of this place as a hidden brunch gem in Whistler.

Pudding and his girlfriend recommended this brunch spot because of their 'smoothie shots' and famous stuffed French toast.

It is in an inconspicuous area so you'll really have to look for this place if you want to come. It will be hard to just 'stumble' upon this restaurant because it is not directly in the heart of the village.

As my recent job has taught me, you can never start your morning without coffee.

Meta Knight ordered the Canadian Back Bacon Eggs Benedict ($12) which comes with two poached eggs, toasted English muffin, and Element's signature potato tartlet with chive sour cream.

I had to try that famous stuffed French toast so I ordered the Honey Ham & Brie version which was essentially a gigantically thick piece of French bread stuffed with honey ham and double cream brie, with real Canadian maple syrup. It also comes with a super cute 'smoothie shot' and a melon ball. The little touches like this are the things that get people coming back so good on them for doing this.

Look at those marvelous hunks of French bread. Yum.

The combination of brie and ham will always be a winner so there's no point telling you how great the filling is. I did wish there was more of it though because the bread to filling ratio felt a little off.

Cupcake chose the Classic ($13+2) with smoked duck sausage and the server asked him whether he wants a bagel and cream cheese with it. He didn't know that it didn't come with and the server neglected to tell him there would be an extra charge for the bagel AND the cream cheese. In the end he paid almost $5 more than he anticipated and this surprise didn't make him a happy customer in the end.

Dirty girl chose something similar to a 'Poached Pear French Toast' but I can't completely remember. She thought it was alright.

All in all, it's a pretty cool brunch place but I don't think it was as good as the hype surrounding it. The wait to get a table was 45 mins long, the service was alright, and the novelty of the stuffed French toast is gone once you've had it twice.

Service Rating: 2.5/5
Food Rating: 3.5/5
Price: $-$$$

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Happy Eating!

Elements Urban Tapas Parlour on Urbanspoon

17 November 2013

Chengdu Szechuan Bistro- Edible Bird's Nest

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to be invited to Chengdu Szechuan Bistro for a tasting of their signature dishes. 

They are located right next to one of my favourite ramen joints, Kintaro, which I was surprised to find out because I never really took notice of Chengdu before despite being in the are a good couple of times.

Chengdu Szechuan Bistro caters to the downtown demographic and serves a variety of Chinese and Western fusion dishes.

Recently, they have been heavily advertising their Peking Duck which is a dish loved by many. It usually consists of two parts, and I will go into more detail a little later.

The bartender Jan creates all of the cocktails and martinis on the menu and it constantly changes depending on the season.

I tried the Mint Cucumber Martini which was the coolest, most refreshing drink to have... on a hot summer day. Too bad Vancouver doesn't get a lot of days like that to enjoy these types of drinks. Nonetheless, this was absolutely delicious, and I'd drink this during summer or winter time.

On the other hand, not too many of my friends took a liking to the Asian Ginger Martini, mostly because the ginger was a bit too strong. But I can see how other people who love ginger would like this drink.

On to the Peking Duck. Peking duck's first course comes with duck skin that has been crisped up, and its usually served with green onions, cucumber, hoisin sauce, and a really flat crepe. You roll it up like a burrito and eat it together.

They make all their crepes fresh and in house which I really appreciate. Nobody likes crepes from a package.

All of my friends thought the duck was very well done. It was crispy, had a good amount of meat on them, and it wasn't too fatty (which can easily be the case if cooked differently). The owner told me they roast the ducks in house as well. Big thumbs up. 

Here is my assembled duck wrap. The crispy skin with the cooling cucumber and green onion, along with the flavourful (homemade) hoisin sauce, makes for heaven in your mouth. If you've never tried Peking Duck before, I URGE you to give it a try at least once in your life. 

The second course that usually follows is the Lettuce Wrap. The chef takes all the meat that was left over (since they only took the skin) and stir-fries it with a bunch of other ingredients. Then you wrap this particular filling in lettuce and eat it. The duck meat was very moist here and was indeed very fresh.

We wanted to sample both prawns and squid so we ended up getting 50/50 and they were fried with spicy salt and pepper seasoning. The prawns were huge and perfectly fried. 

One of my favourite dishes was the Seafood and Vegetable in Bird's Nest. The birds nest is made of potato sticks and is entirely edible! How cool is that?! I haven't had this since I was a child in Hong Kong so this dish really brought me back in time.

I also liked how the veggies and seafood were kept very light and void of additional oil or seasoning. 

If you are feeling the munchies, they serve fries here too. But these are fusion fries. Starting from the left: Garlic Butter Fries, Kung Pao Fries, and Spicy Salt and Pepper fries. All of us hands down loved the Garlic Butter Fries. Apparently the fries are wok fried as well so it gave them that smokier flavour.

The Kung Pao fries were too sweet for us, and the Spicy Salt and Pepper fries took home second prize.

This was introduced to us as a favourite of many loyal customers. It's called Ginger Beef and though my group personally found it too 'gingery' for our liking, I can see other people enjoying this. To each their own.

All in all, Chengdu Szechuan Bistro exceeded my expectations and its awesome to know that you can get Peking Duck in downtown without going to a fancy Chinese restaurant and paying top dollars for the same thing you can get here.

Happy Eating!

Chengdu Szechuan Bistro 成都美食 on Urbanspoon

3 November 2013

Blue Water Cafe - The Case of the Disappointing Meal

So here's the story of me and Blue Water Cafe. Ever since I knew of Blue Water Cafe 4 years ago, I've always wanted to come here. However, living a student lifestyle at the time did not allow for me to blow $70-100 on a meal so I resisted long and hard until I got my first full time career position. 

So fast forward to today. I brought Meta Knight here for his birthday because he enjoyed it the first time he came here with his family during Dine Out (yes, Blue Water used to participate in the Dine Out program!).

When I arrived, I was the little girl who couldn't wait to go into the candy store. 4 years of anticipation and expectation led me to this day where I will have the freshest, most amazing seafood ever.

Right when we came through the door. Two waitresses looked at us and smiled.... and said nothing. No, "Hi, welcome to Blue Water Cafe Do you have a reservation?" or "Hi, how are you doing today?". The just kept that awkward smile until I had to say, "Uh.. I'm have a reservation under _____ at 7pm". Already not off to a good start.

Meta Knight and I thought the bread was pretty great though and the seaweed butter was sublime. I could eat that butter day and night.

Our server was friendly, though reserved, and did not particularly seem too interested in our table. We had to consciously wave him down at least 3 times throughout the night, and at times, we didn't see a trace of him for a good 20 minutes and therefore couldn't even get his attention. It took us a total of about 30 minutes to get our bill at the end. :/

We started off with half a dozen of Assorted Fresh Oysters and we both agreed that Kusshi ($3.50/pc) was the best. They have a deeper cup and is milder in taste. Very refreshing.

The BC Tasting For Two ($17.50/person) looked very appealing so we also ordered this for our appy. It arrived in a majestic presentation which surprised us both. 

First up was the Scallop Ceviche. We both thought this was pretty bland and oddly mediocre despite our overwhelming love of scallops. 

The Albacore Tuna Tartare was awesome and deliciously dressed in an asian marinade. The crispy wonton wrapper was also really light and delicious.

Another winner was the Smoked Sockeye Salmon Terrine. I love smoked salmon so this preparation of it blew me away. 

What the Dungeness Crab Salad lacks in colour, it makes up for in taste. Incredibly fresh tasting, and refreshing on the palate.

I knew four years ago that the entree I would order when I ever get a chance to go to Blue Water Cafe, is the Qualicum Bay Scallops ($33.50). I've read a ridiculous amount of reviews all claiming this to be the most amazing dish so needless to say my expectation was very high. The price point also made me think this dish would be in the big leagues. 

While my scallops were perfectly cooked. I received two and a half of them. Not even three. The pictures I've seen of this dish always had 3-5 full scallops on it so I was disappointed already. Next, the wild rice griddle cake was bland and tough. Third, the sauce was oddly sweet and tasted more like dessert. Lastly, the carmelized onions tasted rotten and had a horrible aftertaste. Having left most of my dish untouched, my server didn't ask me if anything was wrong. When I pointed out that the onions tasted really really odd and bitter (like it was rotten), he said, oh its the kind of onion, its suppose to taste like that. And just left it at that. 

On the other hand, Meta Knight had the most amazing Sablefish ($37.50) we've ever tasted. The broth was to die for and the fish was so buttery and soft, you could chew it without any teeth. If I ever (decide to) come back I am so getting this.

I was beyond frustrated and ever so disappointed at this point that I almost didn't want dessert. However, it was Meta Knight's birthday and we wanted to see if they could redeem themselves so we ordered a dessert. They were nice enough to personalize it and wish him a happy birthday. The dessert overall was good.

I really tried to like this restaurant, I really did. I thought this was going to be my go-to restaurant from now on but the inattentive customer service and traumatizing scallop dish left me leaving sour. To be honest I feel really sad that I waited 4 years for an incredible dining experience and it didn't deliver. Meta Knight had a magnificent experience with his sable fish though so maybe that's the way to go if you ever want to try this place out. Maybe I'll give this place a second chance in the future, but for now I don't see how I can convince myself to just go back again. :(

Service Rating: 2/5
Food Rating: 3/5
Price: $$$$$$+

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Happy Eating!

 Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar on Urbanspoon