Words & Pix: Stephanie Yuen
Chinese post: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/stephanieyuen/?variant=zh-hans
Quinto Quarto: Brain & Bottega Dinner
Chinese are known to eat everything and anything, well almost! When it comes to offal, we eat plenty! Quite often, when the term ‘internal organ’ is mentioned, facial expressions of surprise, dismay or even disgust are shown, sometimes verbal expressions such as ‘barbarian, non-human’ are added. You could imagine how happy and awed I was to sit amongst fellow offal eaters at Campagnolo Roma; ready to indulge into an evening of ‘tendon, ears, skin, heart and brain’!
Oh yes, pig brain! That’s part of the Quinto Quarto: Brain & Bottega Dinner Chef Nathan Lowey in stored for us, in time to inject some Halloween mood into every body there. But before brain was served, we had to go through the following extremely creative and somewhat exotic dishes:
1/ Puffed beef tendon that reminded me of shrimp chips Chinese restaurants often serve with Crispy chicken.
2/ Pig ears that shaped and deep-fried like French fries; extra crunchy thanks to the soft ear bones.
3/ Pigs Trotters which were deboned, braised and then fried.
Primo: Pasta with softened julienne pig skin – who would have guessed those semi-translucent shreds were pig skins?
Second: Beef heart stuffed with sweetbreads and black truffles, the texture of the heart was a lot like beef tongues.
And now, the brain – blended into the dark chocolate torte, was indeed a piece of cake. Finally, the Vanilla ice cream sprinkled with duck crackling bits!
To go with the wild menu, we had the following wines from Bottega, a young, innovative and very energetic winery who produces grappa, wine, sparkling wine and liqueur that distributes to 120 countries worldwide:
Bottega Prosecco N/V , Bottega Pinot Grigio 2010 , Bottega Valpolicella Ripasso 2010
Bottega Amarone 2009 , Alexander Grappa
Both Campagnolo on Main and Roma put on one-of-a-kind feasts regularly. Go online to find out when and what the next one will be!
Mushroom Festival at Siena
For those mushroom-craving folks who may not be able to or are not too keen on going deep into the forest for mushroom hunting, Siena’s $32 three-course Mushroom Festival menu comes highly recommended, by the four of us who last week, had a joyous dinner there!
We ordered two mushroom dinners, a sumptuous plate of antipasti, a grilled flat iron steak and a mushroom risotto. The total ticket price $140, tax included.
In terms of value, the $32 menu was almost as good as a steal, simply because the portion, flavour and presentation of each single course were solid. Good choices were offered for the first and main courses. The texture of the crimini & oyster mushroom soup was creamy but silky smooth. My pork tenderloin with morels was tender and juicy; the olive oil sautéed potatoes and Chianti sauce elevated the palate satisfaction. The porcini stuffing in theravioli was a bit too salty for our liking but the charred shallots and the Madeira cream were marvelous. Not a steak person, but the two slices of grilled steak I bit into were one of the most flavourful beef I had in recent months; the balsamic-basil marinade did its trick. Same comments could be made to the risotto – steamy hot with perfectly balanced amount of creamy and cheesy texture – bravo!
White chocolate and black truffle tart was the dessert that came with the mushroom menu, but I had to order the blackberry panna cotta off the menu and found myself absolutely lost in it. Black was the colour; started with blackberry-blended top layer which was a fruity and sweet sensation and eggless custard was velvety and dreamy.
Siena’s Mushroom Festival will last till November 6, reservation, I say, is a must! www.eatsiena.com 1485 W 12th Ave.Vancouver. (604) 558-1485
2/ Something different is happening everyday at Seventeen89
Paul Puratich, a third generation fisherman who knows his seafood like his own palms and Chef Daryle Nagata, one of my favourite Canadian chefs partnered up and opened Seventeen89 recently and is already creating a buzz. No, it has nothing to do with which restaurant was there before, who cares really? But everything to do with what Nagata and Puratich are doing. Let’s look at the Fall menu line-ups that offers something different on a daily basis. From your choice of beer on tap plus a pair of bratwurst pretzel dogs and Chef’s addictive crispy fries for just $10 on Tuesdays; BYOB with zero cockage fee on Wednesdays and Nagata will happily and readily create hearty, delicious food to pair with your wine; to Senior Sunday when the older and wiser 65 and up get 25% off their meals! Neighbourhood friendliness and reaching out to the community – now we’re talking!
1789 Comox Street (at Denman), Vancouver. Information: 1789.ca or call 604-428-0705
3/ Thomas Haas’s One! Bar – Grab it while you can!
Chocolate and dessert fans know what the name ‘Thomas Haas’ entails. The limited release of 1000 only ‘One! Bar’ is his newest seduction. The one and only Chocolatier in Canada, Haas’s newly created to-die-for chocolate bar is made with carefully selected wild-foraged cocoa beans from Grenada. He happens to be one of the few Chocolatiers in the world to allow access to this unique and robust vintage of 65% cocoa from Valrhona’s prestigious Sourcers’ Selection. To refine the bar even further, Haas has intensified the flavour profile to 79 per cent using a unique blend of 100 per cent pure cocoa — this bar truly is a one-of-a-kind indulgence for the palates and senses.
One! Bar Raffle for Canucks Place
In the spirit of the Thomas Haas annual charitable Easter Egg raffle, chocolate lovers will have a chance to win the very first ONE! Bar produced, bearing serial number 0001 and an interactive chocolate experience with Thomas Haas. Thomas will welcome the winner and up to seven of his or her friends to his North Vancouver chocolate kitchen for a fun and interactive evening of chocolate making and tasting.
Raffle tickets will be sold at both Thomas Haas cafés at the following rate: 3 for $5, 7 for $10, and 15 for $20 and will be randomly drawn on Dec. 3, 2013. One hundred per cent of the funds raised will be applied towards the purchase of toys for Thomas Haas’ longstanding charity of choice, the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.
North Shore Store
Unit 128, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver. 604-924-1847
2539 West Broadway, Vancouver. 604-736-1848