Travels: Tulalip Resort

Stephanie & Henry Yuen

A 90-minute drive south from Vancouver, off Exit#200 from Highway 5 is the colossal Tulalip Casino & Resort, an enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes where we leisured a weekend getaway. For someone who normally spent no more than 15 minutes at the slot machines, we found ourselves enjoying every minute of it.  We knew we’re in for 3 days of quality time once we laid our eyes on the immaculate, warm and spacious hotel room

A ‘zen’ moment at T Spa

T Spa is an elegant, earth inspired 14,000 square-foot, full-service spa featuring men’s and women’s lounges equipped with rainwater showers, saunas and steam rooms – these description do not do this gorgeous spa enough justice.  We both agreed T Spa is one of the most sensuous, nature-embracing indoor spaces. A spa treatment here is the way to the most relaxing zen moment your body and soul will thank you for

Superb Dining

There are four restaurants in Tulalip, we tried them all, our favourite finds:

a) Eagles Buffet: Look for Prime Rib Roast in the carving station and choose you own meat and fixings at the Mongolian grill station.

b) Tulalip Bay: Excellent food and wine pairing. This award winning restaurant (2008, 2009 DiRoNa Award, the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2007 and the 2008 Washington Wine Award of Distinction) is led by James Beard House invitee chef Dean Shinagawa. Their wine program is taken care of by Tommy Thopmson, a member of the International Sommelier Guild who has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence twice, the Washington Wine Commission’s Award of Distinction, and most recently, the Washington Wine Commission’s Grand Award.

c) Black Fish Wild Salmon Grill and Bar: Take a look at the seafood display at the entrance. Sit close to the tailor-made kitchen with an open style salmon pit right in the middle of the dining room. Highly recommended: Ironwood sticks of salmon skewers are cooked in open fire, Salmon chowder, Macaroni & Cheese with crab meat and yes, desserts!

d) Cedars Café: Fluffy and aromatic pancakes!

***Please note: All portions are generous, do pace yourselves.  

A Museum of Tribal Arts

We are no art aficionadas, but who could deny craftsmanship of cultural beauty? Tulalip not only has a huge collection of heritage and modern carvings and paintings, but has integrated the tribal art structures as part of the charm and design of the property: Lamp shades, carpets, glass etchings, tapestry and even beddings. The resort is simply a museum of unique tribal arts!  Every frame, every carving, every structure tells a legacy, so don’t just walk pass by, do stop and listen to the tribal stories these fine art pieces are telling.  www.tulalipresort.com

On my plate: Come, let’s go to Chinatown!

By Stephanie Yuen

Vancouver’s Chinatown is the 3rd largest in N. America, after New York and San Francisco, and is the root of our world renowned Chinese cuisine. Many agree Vancouver has the best Chinese food outside of China.  While Chinatown is celebrating its 125th birthday, let’s go take a closer look. We’ll start early in the morning, so we can glimpse into how some of my favourite shops start the day. We shall start with Keefer Street.

At Sun Fresh Bakery, owner and head baker Danny comes in the middle of the night to make the dough and leave trays of them to rise.  Ray the baker is responsible for all the European style pastries, Ming and Jessica are the steam bun experts.  Everyday at about 5am, they arrive, turn the kitchen light on and start rolling and making the pastries and buns.  By the time the store opens for business at 8am, Ray has already turned in numerous trays of assorted baked items and golden egg tarts.  The two bun ladies, who make 1000 buns weekdays and 1500 weekends, will have fluffy white veggie buns, pork & vegetable buns, BBQ pork buns, bean buns ready to go.

The butchers at Sing Chong BBQ and Meat Shop are trimming off fats, portioning meats and preparing advance orders for delivery.  Aromatic and steaming hot roasted pork, spare-ribs and other BBQ items make their way from the kitchen at the back to the BBQ station to be hung and displayed. Look at that 300+ lb. whole roasted pig!

When owner Ken slides open the door gate at Chinatown Supermarket, deliveries are made, bins of vegetables and fruits are being organized.  The fishmonger at the back gets his seafood tanks and catch of the day ready.  There, a gentleman waits for his order – a big slice of lingcod.

Hungry?  Shall we sit down for some breakfast?

A few doors down from the supermarket is Maxim’s Bakery and Café (opens at eight), the restaurant upstairs would have greeted its first group of regular customers who come in for their morning coffee, tea or the mix yin-yang drink and a fresh from the oven cocktail bun, made-to-order breakfast sandwiches or a complete set of Hong Kong Style 3-course breakfast. Most of them are white or blue collar workers from the neighbourhood, others are early risers who enjoy having their first meal with the daily newspaper purchased outside the storefront. Let’s join them.

And when we’re done with breakfast, we’ll go visit Guo Wah Herbal Store (on main) and check out those interesting dried roots and herbs and go shopping in one of the fashion stores.  Before we leave, let’s go and taste some tea at Ten-Ren Tea & Ginseng House, our last stop will be off to Hon’s Wonton House (Keefer Street) to buy some noodles and dumplings.

For information on Edible British Columbia’s Chinatown Market Tour with Stephanie Yuen, please log on to http://www.ediblebritishcolumbia.com

For Breakfast Television clips on Chinatown Foodie: http://bit.ly/cvENB9

Other blog posting: http://blogs.btvancouver.ca/family-fun-in-chinatown

The 8th Estate Winery – the first and only urban winery in Hong Kong

Henry Yuen

Picture a winery: lush green vineyard, clear blue sky, trees and bushes in the background, the winemaker and his viticulture team walking the field, checking the grapes…but in Hong Kong? 

Ap Lei Chau used to be an industrial zone, turned dormant when majorities of factories moved to Mainland China to enjoy cheaper labour and operation cost.  As a result of revitalization attempts, art studios, specialty shops and odd workshops started to move into these almost empty industrial buildings. The 8th Estate Winery occupies a unit on the 3rd floor of a building and inevitably this urban winery has nothing that is lush and green.

The question is, are the aforementioned description requirements for wineries?

Lysanne Tusar, a fellow Vancouverite who went to Hong Kong to explore and landed the job as the Director and Chief Marketing Officer of the full scale 8th Estate Winery  would likely say ‘no!’ . Both viticulture skill and winemaking technique have improved significantly that urban wineries are no longer experimental but proven successful. “Good products, good marketing and good clientele service are the keys. We host public and private tastings, organize special events and wine parties. Our client list has been expanding since day 1.”

The young, energetic and very passionate Edward J. McDougall is the Winemaker who is trained in Australian and has extensive experiences in wine making. He sources his grapes from Australia, New Zealand and USA. Grapes are frozen to preserve its original and optimal condition, and flown in immediately upon harvesting. Pressed and barreled in various  American & French oak under the watchful eyes McDougall in Hong Kong, the 8th Estate Winery’s product list includes palate pleasing varietals of red, white and dessert wines. They even provide ‘Barrel Purchase’ that invite clients to work with McDougall closely to produce a private wine with a private blend that has the client’s personalized touch all over.

With the relaxation of Hong Kong’s liquor law and the good lifestyle pursuit, wine consumption is on the rise. Making wine indoor in an industrial block is already a reality.  So who dare say one cannot make wine in a concrete jungle? www.the8thestatewinery.com

Food Notes

 08.04.2010

Pastis offers $35 ‘SUMMER IN PROVENCE’ Menu

Join Pastis August 5 through 25 as Cuisine d’Été travels to Provence – the land where summer never ends and the sunsets are as rosy as its wine. This area is the home to Bistro Pastis’ namesake aperitif – Pastis, the anise-flavoured beverage favoured in countries around the Mediterranean.
Summer in Provence features ‘les fruits de mer’ – Sardines, Red Snapper, Calamari; as well as regional classics such as Daube de Boeuf. Pair with a glass or two of citrusy rosé or hearty red and in no time, you will find yourself transported to a café on La Croisette or a port-side bistro in Marseille.Summer evenings were made for lingering over good food and good wine with good friends. We invite you to enjoy a summer evening in Provence at Bistro Pastis. Reservations are recommended: 604-731- 5020 / www.bistropastis.com

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Glowbal Collection chefs serving free gourmet BBQ meals at Oppenheimer Park

On Tuesday, August 10, 10am – 4pm, Union Gospel Mission will partner with The GLOWBAL COLLECTION to serve thousands of free gourmet BBQ meals to the people of the Downtown Eastside. The newly renovated Oppenheimer Park will be packed with guests enjoying a mouth-watering menu of BBQ chicken, beef brisket, ribs, potato salad, coleslaw, corn bread, baked beans, iced tea and butter tart bars for dessert, all prepared by six chefs – one from each GLOWBAL restaurant.

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For all of life’s celebrations – modern Italian cooking in a relaxed atmosphere at Lupo

The Lupo pre-event menu is vailable between 5pm and 6:15 pm every night, a 2 course menu is just $28 and the 3 course menu is a very reasonable $37.  Start with SUMMER MINESTRA I pesto + baby spinach or BUFALA MOZZARELLA SALAD I fresh peas + tomatoes + olive oil, sample the RICOTTA GNOCCHI I braised pork cheeks + “sugo” di pomodoro, BC SABLEFISH I grappa & orange marinade + baby spinach and add contorni (a side dish) of grilled polenta. Finish with RUSTIC SUMMER FRUIT TART |creme fraiche gelato and your evening will be complete.  604.569.2535  www.luporetaurant.ca

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$35 Peaches & Pork August “Fresh From…” Menu at Yew Restaurant,

This month Executive Chef Oliver Beckert is featuring Berkshire Pork & Peaches.
Fresh from Sloping Hill Farm in Qualicum Beach, a sweet seaside town on Vancouver Island, lives a brood of free range, heritage breed, “happy pigs.” An animal-friendly focus on healthy, humane farming leads to an exceptional quality of absolutely delicious, locally-grown pork. Fresh from Canada’s fruit bowl, the Okanagan has been producing peaches since the 1800’s. It just doesn’t get better than the plump, juicy peach varietals that hit their stride this month (also known as Peachfest in those parts).  Call 604-692.4939 to reserve your table.

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Tomata Festival at Provence Mediterranean Grill and Marinaside

Tomato lovers beware, the first official annual Tomato Festival is taking place at the two Provence Restaurants.  The husband and wife chef team Alexandra and Jean-Francis has prepared a summer-ful menu filled with the season’s best fruits, vegetables and of course, tomatoes.

In keeping with our love of children, nature and food, Provence will be donating $3.00 from every Chef’s menu sold to Growing Chefs!; This wonderful charity brings chefs into elementary schools to teach children about nutrition, farming, sustainability and the truest concept of garden to table thinking. Show your Cirque tickets before or after the show and receive 10% off your entire food bill*, so if you order the Chef’s menu you can receive a 10% discount and help children learn and grow!
Provence Mediterranean Grill 4473 W.10th Ave. 604-222-1980

Provence Marinaside  1177 Marinaside Crescent, opposite the seawall in Yaletown. 604-681-4144  www.provencevancouver.com

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Sooke Harbour House summer deals

Summer is at it’s peak. Whatever dream vacations you have planned this summer, this package is a true “Mid Summer Night’s Dream”. Enjoy not just one night, but two and we will serve you a ROMANTIC DINNER for TWO on each night absolutely FREE!

Get 20% off  our regular room rates any time during August. The front desk staff will offer you this rate when you call, alternatively if you make an online reservation through our website. 1-800-889-9688 www.sookeharbourhouse.com

 

What`s on my plate: Hong Kong Style Café

Hong Kong Style Café: The old and the new

It’s 3:30pm on a Saturday afternoon.  My mom just woke up from a short nap when my sister and I came back in after walking the dogs. Ah, it’s tea time!

No, we were not hungry, but having tea on a Saturday afternoon is simply a neat thing too do.  And today, we decided to go to a Hong Kong style café to have that tea (and coffee for me), and very possibly, some snacks to go with.  

When it comes to Chinese eateries, dimsum restaurants probably top the popular list. Yet there are other Chinese frequent restaurants that serve anything but dimsum, for instance, congee houses, noodle places and the most interesting of all, Hong Kong style café.

What do you expect to find on the menu? Familiar Chinese stir-fries and stews, S.E. Asian curries, chowmeins and fried rice are Asian portals. East meets West dishes from Double-layer French toast to Macaroni with ham slices and peas in soup, oven-baked Portuguese style pork chop on rice to Spaghetti with ham cooked with ketchup, to name a few. You can also find set breakfast, lunch of dinner menus, all include beverage of your choice, such as Hong Kong style tea, coffee or yin-yang (tea & coffee mix), Horlick, Ovaltin and lemon tea make with a stack of fresh lemon slices.  Sorry, no refills. 

Here in Metro Vancouver, there are the old and the new of HK Style Cafes: The old ‘Chinatown’ version and the new Hong Kong version.  While the former often has a bakery out front, the latter offers west coast and international menu choices as well.  

Mainly found around Chinatown area, Old style café restaurants usually open early and close around 9pm. Compared to the newer cafes, they often have a smaller menu and tend to stick to the same items, perhaps due to the fact that most customers are regulars from the neighbourhood and folks working nearby who know what to order without looking at the menu.  Fresh from the oven baked goodies also play a role in satisfying diners’ hunger and cravings.       

Modern café restaurants pay more attention to the décor and ambiance and have a much bigger menu with more western flavours and drink choices, therefore do carry the ability to attract a wider range of customers, even adolescents. They may not open for breakfast, but do stay late. Different menus, one for Asian meals, one for western cuisine and one for snacks are delivered to the table. To new comers, the menu choices can be quite confusing. But if you feel like Seafood paella, roast chicken with salad and pasta, and even Rib-eye steaks with baked potato, you won’t be disappointed!

Please note:

Both old and new HK Style cafés offer special ‘Snack’ or ‘Tea-time’ menu which comes with a drink for $5 to $8, a great choice for small appetites. Do check out this menu first.

Henry & Stephanie’s favourite Metro Vancouver HK Style Cafes:

Old Style:

Boss Restaurant & Bakery: 532 Main, Vancouver. 604-683-3860

Kam’s Bakery: 2419 Main, Vancouver. 604-874-4041

Maxim Bakery & Café: 257 Keefer, Vancouver. 604-687-0949

New Town Bakery: 158 E. Pender, Vancouver. 604-681-1828

New Style:

Angel Café: 5995 Fraser, Vancouver. 604-323-8948

Café Gloucester: 3338 Cambie, Vancouver. 604-873-3338

Ken’s Restaurant: 1097 Kingsway, Vancouver. 604-873-6339

Westwood Café: 1045-1163 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam. 604-552-0628

Ming Tak HK Style Restaurant: 8363 Granville, Vancouver. 604-263-1388

For a true Parisian-style afternoon tea pleasance, check out the beautiful Le  Grand Thé  this summer at the two Provence restaurants, served Monday to Saturday from 2:30-4:30pm. The 2-tier of dainty pastries and savories, complete with crème fraîche and Bonne Maman and your choice of tea or coffee, are yours for $20.00. Call for details and reservations. www.provencevancouver.com

Provence Marinaside, Yaletown: 604-68104144

Provence Mediterranean Grill, W. 10th: 604-222-1980