When Food Truck Asian Fare met German wines

New generation appeal

Words & Pix: Stephanie Yuen (中文博客:http://taiyangbao.ca/food/374354/ )

They came all the way from Germany; and along with great wines, they also brought good news – the German wine industry has embarked on a new era!

At a recent “Generation Riesling” tasting lunch, their alluring Rieslings were not the only featured beauties, also presented was a passionate and young wine-makers Nadine Poss who happened to be the reigning German Wine Queen of 2013-2014! This ‘pageant queen’ was there to describe each wine poured and her wine knowledge was as impressive as her charm.

The 'queen'

Apparently, a new generation of young, passionate and innovative winemakers are transforming German’s wine world.  They are not only bringing in new energies, they are making much more noises and turning heads on global wine stages! What they are doing is obviously endorsed by the wine world of Germany at large. It would be interesting, however, to find out what the courses have been like, challenging perhaps, but the outcome has been ravishing for sure!          Gen Riseling 1

An Asian-themed lunch was served. Two brand-named food trucks: Roaming Dragon and Vij’s Railway Express parked right outside the venue and were turning out small plates in their limited mobile kitchen while the waiting staff strode in and out constantly to bring the plates inside to serve the 50 or so eagerly awaiting guest. Regrettably, no matter how fast and efficient the food truck operators and the staff were, majority of the small plates of food arrived less than hot (temperature). I admit pairing wine with food truck fares is cool and fun, but is it practical and as functional? What is more important here; the wine or the food?

Asian cuisine, especially spicy fares do go well with German Rieslings, but pairing with red wines, any red, has been a different story all along, thanks to the complex of flavour and texture profiles of Asian cooking. Let me reassure you though; the availability of thousands of Asian dishes, traditional or fused, makes the task very doable, provided the right menu choices and logistics were executed!

A total of 10 wines were poured.  The plate made up of two main were served with two Pinot Noirs at the end.  Overpowered by both the spicy “Curry breaded chicken breast” and the Lucknow lamb kebabs, the reds became silent. Sorry to say this, but the limitation of the equipment and facility food truck operators have to face often mean the temperature and texture delivered to our table would be compromises. Why the chicken had to be breaded and the lamb skewered was beyond me, since serving a luncheon party of this size presented enough challenges, and Asians do cook the curry in pots and lambs in chunks. Yes, I’m being picky and fussy here, but we all know how important food quality plays when it involved wine-pairing.

Spicy food & red may crashDon’t get me wrong, I embrace the food trucks who work so hard in the harsh Vancouver market with full respect, but with wine being the main focus, I’d have gone the easier way – go to an S.E. Asian restaurant so the focus would indeed be on the wine, not the food catered by the food trucks.     Reisling & Dimsum

The whites were, on the other hand, fabulous! The three whites I loved most that afternoon were:

Weingut Heitlinger 2008 (Blanc de Noir Sparkling) – Make sure you have a bottle or two chilled away in the fridge – it’s BBQ and patio season after all! This creamy, dry and refreshing Black de Noir bubble Sparking is sensually delicious!

Willems Hofmann 2013 Silvaner – One of the most-planted German white grapes, Silvaner’s tropical, juicy and capturing flavour goes well with a sizzling oyster cooked on the grill, yam fries and chili-peppered chicken wings.

Moselland 2013 Riesling Mosellschild Feinherb  - Feinherb is perhaps the new word for “halbtrocken” which refers to off dry or half-dry white wines. Sweet hints of apple and Asian pear with a touch of honeydew give this Riesling the breezy summery notes.

For more information: http://31daysgermanriesling.ca

An afternoon with burgers and sliders

Words: Stephanie Yuen (Chinese blog: http://taiyangbao.ca/food/359591/

The receipt of Vanfoodster Richard Wolak’s invitation to one of his recent Tasting Plates events to spend one afternoon with numerous burgers prompted two reactions. Henry’s was “Awesome, let’s do it!” Mine was “Huh? Burgers”?

Anyone could tell I am not too enthusiastic about burgers, for simple reasons: Ground meat is off-beat and boring. Burgers is so uniformed. My hands are too small to hold and eat burgers without making a big mess.

Good old Richard assured me these were sliders (mini-burgers) with special touches. In another word, they would all be gourmet burgers.  Why mini burgers are called sliders is beyond me, may be they are small enough to ‘slide’ into the mouth?  Nevertheless, I had to admit, this afternoon of burger adventure proved to be quite an eye-opener.

We started late and due to the participating eateries spreading from Gastown to Denman, we only had enough time to taste 4 burgers. This worked to our advantage – it gave my stomach a break in between burgers and gave Henry a refreshed­ palate for the next pint of beer.

Milestone's burger

First stop: Milstones Robson.

The “Stacked Burger” was a classic: The cute skewer of cherry tomato and pickle added vivid colour to the stack. Moist and fluffy were the juicy patties with perfect thickness. I felt in love with the crunchy Tuna Taco which was definitely a pleasant surprise. Bravo to the chef who went out of the way to create something unique and so tasty!

Henry loved the King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen from How Sound Brewery. “Perfect drink for burgers and tacos!” was his cheerful comment.

King Heffy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up was Yagger’s Downtown (Pender Street)

We had the choice of: Yagger’s Famous Cowburger OR Housemade Chorizo Burger. Since there were two of us, we naturally ordered one of each. The existence of both organic beef & pork in one patty in the cowburger was not unusual, but interesting. The double smoked bacon and aged white cheddar would be forever enticing; with chipotle peppers and peppercorn mayo, the burger scored even higher.  The “kick” inside the ground chorizo & beef patty was very engaging and was an excellent partner with cold beer. Once again, my palate loved the side dish “Mac & Not So Blue Cheese” white cheddar& gorgonzola cream sauce on jumbo mac noodles and smartly garnished with fresh bruschetta.

Yagger's two burgers

3rd Stop: The Bismarck Bar

Bismarck Chorizo Prawn Slider applied top ingredients generously, that included using brioche buns, combined to offer layers of flavour and a truly gourmet profile.  Being close to Roger’s Stadium, the Crunchy and extremely flavourful Stadium Fries that came with the slider were the first to disappear.  Classic burger & fries

Last stop: Buckstop Denman

Henry and I both agreed, their Venison burgers stuffed with blue cheese, mushrooms and horseradish aioli was a show stopper.  Two slices of tender loins of venison, not ground, told me 1/ Not all burger meats are minced. 2/ Burgers can be as tasty as any other well-prepared dish. Who knew blue cheese and venison loins are merry couples? The bowl of warm and crispy house-made potato chips was all so seductive, I had to warm myself 8 times to pull to a full stop! Oh, the running-out meter helped too!

Venison burger platter

 

Our sincere apology to the ones that we missed:

Kobob Burger – Mini Bulgogi (Marinated pork with veggies) rice burger, served with a piece of Korean pancake and Kimchi.

DeeBee’s Organics at Whole Foods that offered choices of one of the flavoured Teapops: Berries and Cherries, Minty Mint, Southern Iced Tea, Tropical Mango and Toasted Coconut.

 

 

 

Irresistible Crème Brulee

Hm...bacon

Words & Pix: S. Yuen (http://taiyangbao.ca/food/352541 )

My previous blog post told you I was in Montreal for a recipe developing project in March, twice! This month of April, I was in California for 3 different reasons: As a presenter at Culinary Institute of America’s Flavour Summit 2014 in Napa; reviewed a few restaurants in downtown Napa and in the lovely town of St. Helene; spent a couple days at Sonoma to taste and observe their food and wine scene.  Articles on the California visits to come soon.

When I came home, the Crème Brulee Challenge, organized by Vancouver Foodster Richard Wolak (http://vancouverfoodster.com) was waiting. As 1 of the 4 media judges, I only had about 1 week to go to all 9 establishments and tasted the various crème brulee while trying to meet 4 deadlines plus developing a new set of 12 recipes by early May. And walla! I broke my own personal record of having 3 servings of Crème Brulee in a single day, three days in a roll. Oh no, didn’t even want to think about weighing myself. Even if each crème brulee equals one pound, that is 9 pounds – the flip side of working with food as a living!

As much as I enjoyed indulging into those made-with-passion and skill Crème brulee, it was a relief when I sent my comments and scores to Richard. Yet, if Richard asked me to go to Novo Pizzeria, Café One and the Apron, the top 3 winners, I’d say yes without hesitation.

The nine eateries competing in the Crème Brulee Challenge were:

A Bread Affair – Granville Island (http://abreadaffair.com )

Bella Galataria – 1001 West Cordova (http://bellagelateria.com )

Café One – 1088 Burrard, Sheraton Wall Centre (http://sheratonwallcentre.com)

Catch 122 – 122 West Hastings (http://catch122.ca )

Gramercy Grill – 2685 Arbutus (http://gramercy.com )

Kingston Taphouse – 755 Richards (http://kingstontaphouse.com )

Novo Pizzaria – 2118 Burrard (http://novopizzeria.com )

The Bakeshop – 4021 McDonald (http://vancouverbakeshop.com )

The Apron –3099 Corvette Way, Westin Wall Centre, Richmond (http://westinwallcentre.com )

1st Place: Novo Pizzeria  - Toasted Hazelnut Creme Brûlée

Chefs Carmine Paradiso & Charles Richard were the creators of Novo’s winning master piece. A well-executed plate of dessert seduced the judges with the beautiful decoration; perfect texture and sweetness.  Everything on the plate, from the orange granite to the crispy almond cookies to the golden brown sugar crown covering the crème brulee, was all there to make love to my palate!Chef Richard's winning creme brulee

2nd Place: Café One (Sheraton Wall Centre on Burrard) – Banana Choconutty Crème Brulee

As a banana lover, the slightly torched banana topping grabbed my attention at Café One instantly. The silky smooth yet consistent custard, the lavender meringue and the choconutty-flavour dust created a painting-like presentation.  Pastry Chef Gabriela Gandolfo’s detail-oriented creation did not go unappreciated.Cafe One

3rd Place: The Apron (Westin Wall Centre Hotel on Corvette & No. 3 Road, Richmond) – Bread and Butter Crème BruleeThe Apron

Under the supervision of Excutive Chef Robert Uy, the team of chefs led by Chef Gabriela Gandolfo and Michael Stavely illustrated what a classic crème brulee with a west coast twist was all about.  The indigenous use of vanilla bean matched charmingly with the application of bread pudding, producing a light fluffy texture that was so exceptional!

 

Xishi Lounge brews Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea

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Words & pix: Stephanie Yuen 

中文博客:http://taiyangbao.ca/author/stephanieyuen/?variant=zh-hans

It could be because February is the prime time to celebrate Lunar New Year; could be this is how Shangri-la Hotel says ‘Thank you!” and “Happy New Year of the Horse!”, the graceful Xishi Lounge is treating those born in the year of the horse to a complimentary Afternoon Tea during this month of February, all you have to do is bring one or more friends belonging to other animal signs with you!

I’m sure you’ve been to this 5-diamond hotel at the corner of Georgia and Thurlow, but how often do you stop by the huge painting of Chinese calligraphy and give yourself a moment or two to drift into the free-flowing energy the painting is emitting?  This majestic painting has always been one of the reasons I choose to walk into the hotel via the main entrance off W. Georgian. The other reasons? To grasp the charming elegance of the hotel lounge and enjoy the view up the few steps leading to the greeting area of Xishi Lounge where the warm, calming and relaxing mood is waiting to embrace me!   IMAG0030Enjoying a cup of tea is, after all, the moment to relax your body and mind, ergo the mellow pace! Once seated, soak in the harmonious décor and soothing ambiance; do leave any worries outside and soon, you will not even notice the hustle and bustle of downtown.IMAG0032

Be reminded that “Afternoon Tea” is more than well, a cup of tea; do allow yourself ample leisure time, especially now at Xishi where Chinese New Year celebration meets ‘High Tea’. You’ll be glad to hear that this special “Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea” is served daily, starting at 11am to 5pm; meaning that you can turn the afternoon tea time into brunch or lunch! IMAG0035

Right now and till the end of February, with your selection of fine teas is the classic 3-tier full of  delights. Besides the orange and plain scones with jam and clotted home-made cream, you are going to be tempted by savouries such as BBQ pork brioche buns, juicy and crispy Duck eggrolls, Smoked salmon bagel and Curry tofu wraps. What about Coconut New Year cakes, mini egg-tarts along with Green tea opera cakes for dessert?  To finish (or to start for some), a bowl of Sesame Tan-ren in ginger syrup!IMG_6117

To top these off, there’s live Chinese music performance every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3-5pm.  Info and reservation (highly recommended) – 604-661-3352

http://shangri-la.com/vancouver/

February means non-stop food, wine & fun

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This weekend – Granville Island

Jump onto the Olympic bandwagon at Edible Canada House

What better way to interrupt winter and celebrate Canada’s Sochi Olympic medal counts and our Olympic hopefuls?

First of all, the annual Winterruption Festival is taking place this weekend. There are numbers of activities for the whole family. Secondly, the iconic Edible Canada Bistro right in the Market (underneath the Granville Street Bridge in the heart of Granville Island) is hosting an Olympic-themed “Edible Canada House” and every Team Canada fan is invited! It is also family friendly with a play area and face painting by the Granville Island Toy Company.

Edible Canada House is featuring a number of live and pre-recorded Olympic events on three giant projection screens. Guests are welcomed party the night away while cheering on the nation’s top athletes. In true Edible Canada fashion, the theme will be quintessential Canadian.

There are of course food!  Besides an array of comfort food fare provided by Edible Canada such as cheesy perogies, multiple ‘Savoury Chef’ food stations showcasing classic Canadian such as bison chili, Alberta beef brisket & maple flapjacks and other late night snacks!

Granville Island Brewing is there to supply the craft beer; along with many other local wines and spirits being poured over the course of the weekend. Don’t miss Edible’s famous “Garnish Your Own” Caesar bar.

The event ran all day and into early mornings yesterday and will continue today Saturday and tomorrow Sunday with an amazing lineup of bands and DJ’s! Check out program details and ticket info: http://www.ediblecanada.com/tours-and-events/events/edible-canada-house-2014/#sthash.FArtt2Sv.dpuf

On February 27 – Market Restaurant at Shangri-la Hotel

French wine & Market pairing dinnerWinemaker Caroline Frey

To set your drinking palate into the French mode and get set for the International Wine Festival, why not pamper yourselves with a food & wine marriage made at Shangri-la Hotel?

Caroline Frey, winemaker for Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné and Château La Lagune, will host a special winemaker’s dinner that celebrates the Burgundy and the Rhône Valley of France, their history, their terroir, their exceptional people and their exceptional wines. The reception and four course dinner will feature some of the winery’s favourite wines paired with a MARKET menu. Tickets are $149 per person and are available by telephone at (604) 695-1115.

 

February 28 – Market lounge at Shangri-la Hotel

Cannonball Wine Gourmet Pizza & Wine Party,

Mirroring the philosophy of the Cannonball Wine Company from California, this approachable event is serious about quality, Cannonball winehonesty, and enjoying life. Hosted by CEO and Founding Partner, Yoav Gila, the event will take place in the MARKET lounge where for $35, guests will be treated to MARKET’s gourmet signature pizzas alongside Cannonball’s signature wines including their celebrated chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. The event starts at 6:30 pm and tickets are available by telephone at (604) 695-1115

 

 

Wine Fest and More – You’re invited!

International wine fest 2013 David Niddrie pix

1)     VIWF Salutes French and Sparkling wines

The 36th Vancouver International Wine Festival, running from February 24, 2014 to March 02, 2014  will have 54 events of food and wine spreading out into 7 days. The theme for this year is France and the focus - Sparkling wines!

Total of 178 wineries from 14 countries will be participating and pouring over 1,000 wines at the general tasting session. 9 wine regions from France will be showcasing their wines. Come mingle with the vine stars and some of the city’s exciting chefs:

Theme Country Vine Stars: France

Michel Chapoutier, Winemaker, M. Chapoutier

Meet Michel Chapoutier in: Rhône Perfection: M. Chapoutier; Wine Tour de France; Meet Your Match; Insatiable Rhône      (at   Hawksworth restaurant, with chef David Hawksworth)

Etienne Hugel, Proprietor, Hugel et Fils
Meet Etienne Hugel in: What’s Trending in France? Masterclass; Iconic French Wines; France: Find Your Style

Thomas Perrin, Owner, Famille Perrin
Meet Thomas Perrin in: The Birthplace of Terroir masterclass; Iconic French Wines; 11th Annual Awards Lunch; Meet Your Match; Salut   Château Beaucastel (at Bistro Pastis with proprietor John Blakeley)

Sigfried Pic, International Export Director, Maison Louis Jadot
Meet Sigfried Pic in: Wine 305: Advanced Burgundy; The Birthplace of Terroir masterclass; Iconic French Wines; We Say Bourgogne;   France: Find Your Style; Nothing But Burgundy (at Le Crocodile with chef Michel Jacob)

Christian Seely, Managing Director, AXA Millésimes; President, Compagnie Médocaine
Meet Christian Seely in: Renaissance of a Top Château

Clovis Taittinger, Export Manager/Family Member, Champagne Taittinger
Meet Clovis Taittinger in: Wine Tour de France; All about Bubbly!Iconic French Wines; L’Instant Taittinger (at West with chef Quang Dang)

Philippe Zinck, Winemaker/Proprietor, Domaine Zinck Vins d’Alsace
Meet Philippe Zinck in: The Birthplace of Terroir masterclass; Wine Tour de France; France Bubbly Party

Rest of the World Vine Stars

Joe Giusti, Owner, Giusti Prosecco
Meet Joe Giusti in: All About Bubbly!

Matt Mavety, Winemaker, Blue Mountain
Meet Matt Mavety in: All About Bubbly!; 25 Under $25

Jak Meyer, Proprietor/Winemaker, Meyer Family Vineyards
Meet Jak Meyer in: Meet Your Match; Meyer Family Feast (at Brix   with chef Chris Bisaro); BC Paired: Indulge Your Senses

Barone Francesco Ricasoli, President, Barone Ricasoli
Meet Barone Francesco Ricasoli in: The Essence of Chianti winery   dinner (at Siena with owner Mark Taylor and chef      Jessica Howery); Dine Italia lunch (at La Terrazza with chef Gennaro Iorio); Excitement in a Glass

2013 wine festival glimpse

Besides general tasting, seminars, wine pairing dinners and luncheons events, new to this year’s wine festival are:

1. additional March 01 Saturday afternoon 3pm to 5pm general tasting session guarantee 30% less attendance so its easier to get to the booths.

2. 1 free ticket to the general tasting session if you book 1 night at one of 37 downtown hotels room through bevancouver.com or 2 tickets if book 2 nights.

Get your tickets early to avoid disappointment! For further information and tickets, please check out http://vanwinefest.ca

1)     Dinners with Sonoma County Vintners in Vancouver

Two exceptional Sonoma County winemaker dinners in   Vancouver.  Hurry up and get your   tickets as space is limited!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reception 6:30, Dinner 7:00

1/ Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar will   feature the wines of Sonoma County’s Siduri Wines and Novy Family   Wines, hosted by Siduri Proprietor Adam Lee. Blue Water’s Executive Chef,   Frank Pabst, will prepare a special four-course dinner menu to match the   wines.

1095 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

Tickets are $165 including taxes   and gratuities: purchase yours by calling 604-688-8078.

2/ Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar will showcase Rodney   Strong Vineyards, Wine Enthusiast’s 2013 American Winery of the Year. The   Sonoma County region winery’s top wines will be presented by Winemaker Rick   Sayre and paired with an unforgettable four-course dinner plus reception. The   main course will feature three of Rodney Strong’s award winning single   vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons.

1138 Homer Street, Vancouver

Tickets are $110 plus taxes and   gratuities: purchase yours by calling 604-915-9463.

Sonoma County

Sonoma in the City Wine Tasting Event

February 5th, the Sonoma in the City event will give Vancouverites a taste of the region’s quality and diversity, with more than 20 wineries and their principals pouring classic California varietals as well   as some pleasant surprises.

List of participating wineries:

  • Davis Bynum
  • Dry Creek Vineyard
  • Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery
  • Foppiano Vineyards
  • Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • J Vineyards & Winery
  • Jordan
  • Kendall-Jackson
  • Kosta Browne Winery
  • Kunde Family Estate
  • Laurel Glen Vineyard
  • MacRostie Winery and Vineyards
  • Novy Family Wines
  • Paul Hobbs Winery
  • Pedroncelli Winery
  • Red Car Wines
  • Rodney Strong Wine Estates
  • Schug Carneros Estate Winery
  • Seghesio
  • Siduri Winery
  • Thomas George

 

Dine Out Galore

Henry & Stephanie Yuen (Chinese blog – http://taiyangbao.ca/food/304664/?variant=zj-hans  )

No matter if you’re a foodie or not, you’ve got to know about “Dine Out Vancouver”! Being in its 12th year, the chance of you hanging out with friends or families in one or more of the Dine Out participating restaurants during the 15 days of Dine Out in past years should be pretty high.

The fact is, from 40+ restaurants to the astounding number of 263 today, and that media from as far as Britain is discovering how successful “Dine Out Vancouver” has been, and with the price tags of $18, $28 and $38 for a 3-course meal, we Vancouverites should be supporting this wonderful food & wine event. Besides choosing and dining in any one or two or more of the 263 restaurants, there’re dozens of fun-filled events which are hosted by some of the city’s who’s who characters. For instance, our very own Man About Town Fred Lee (CBC & The Province) will be conducting The Grape Debate 2014 on Friday, Jan 31 at the Vancouver Public Library. $38 gets you into the Debate, followed by wine tasting presented by Alumni UBC and the Wine of British Columbia.????????????????????????

We urge you to log onto http://dineoutvancouver.com , check out the list of restaurants from each group and the different events taking place between Jan 17 to Feb 02, and book your seats ASAP! Don’t forget to find out how you can win prizes – what about ‘Dine Out For a Year Contest?

We started riding the Dine Out waves by previewing these three restaurants.

A)   Roma BurgerYaletown, W. 4th,  River District$18  and  $28

Located in three different areas with distinctly different backdrops, you may feel like the three Roma Burgers are not related.  Well, their settings and ambiance do vary, but they’re offering the same Dine Out menu.  There are plenty mains to choose from for non-burger fans; such as the Fish and Chips and a Quinoa Burger for vegetarian which is amazingly delicious and well-structured! But I guarantee you will fall in love with those appetizers and salads. No one says you cannot share your fries, the wings and of course, keep those mini donuts to yourself!

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Drinks:  The mellow and fruity Prospect Winery Major Allen Merlot will not disappoint any wine sippers. Juicy, lengthy with subtle woody aroma, it does go well with the dripping burgers.  Most of the white wines are from our own backyard, plus a good selection of easy to please wine on taps. Craft beer fans can take a look at the black board for choices.

Our $18 recommendations:

The Fish Shack

Hapa Izakaya – Kitsilano

Luke’s Corner Bar & Kitchen

Memphis Blues

Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts – Bistro 101

Trattoria Italian Kitchen

       B. The Parker  $28

Another non-orthodox vegetarian restaurant in town whose slogan of ‘sustainable & sexy’ put them on the list of 2013’s new ‘hot spot’ in town.  Of course, Executive Chef Curtis Luk’s partake in the last Top Chef Canada had already given them the edge.  Everyone loves the fresh, local ingredients Luk sources and applies brilliantly.

 

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The plates are so beautiful, the flavour and textures so rich, the execution in fine details, so please do not consume them in a flash,  take the Cauliflower appetizer as a great example – do enjoy with your eyes and noses first, than indulge – you may easily forget what you’re eating are non-meat dishes. IMG_5969

Drinks: Out of the 4-page menu, only 1+1/3 belongs to the food section, the remaining spaces are all about cocktails and wines, a strong indication of how much attention is given to making sure diners enjoy their liquid food as much.  Cocktails with fun or fancy names are very tempting, but we found the Liquidity white, a BC Okanagan blend to be quite a palate-pleaser. Floral and refreshing, this  will pair well with most of Chef Luk’s vegetarian creation.

Our $28 recommendations:

Cactus Club Café (Bentall, English Bay, Park Royal, Yaletown)

Café Pacifica (Pan Pacific Hotel)

Campagnolo

Cibo Trattoria

Forage (Robson)

The Italian Kitchen (Alberni)

Le Parisien

Provence

Pastis

Pier 73

Siena

Tap & Barrel (Coal Harbour, Olympic Village)

C. Wildebeest  $38

Located on Hastings in the Gastown district, Wildebeest interprets the ‘wild’ in its name artfully.  Daringly created dishes served communal style put the restaurant onto the honour roll. It did not take long at all for Wildebeest to develop its very own image and secured its luring power.IMG_5972

From a simple salad such as the Wildebeest Salad with crunchy apple, winter herbs and frozen mascarpone; the Lamb Tartare dressed with heritage onions, horseradish emulsion and mustard seed gastrique; to the Roasted Chick’etta’ with winter squash and black garlic vinaigrette, the dining process is a sensational experience. Please note: Dine Out menus are individual plates.

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Drinks: Wildebeest offers an extensive wine list, including a couple of Junmai Sake. We thoroughly enjoyed what went into our glasses: Wildebeest’s own label wines, a red (Gamay & pinot Noir) and a white (Riesling, Gerwurztraminer & Pinot Gris) blend that match Chef Wes Young’s cooking style and food profile nicely.  A diligent collaboration with Road 13 Winery resulted in 50 cases of each blend. By the look of the crowds in the dining room, it won’t take long for Wildebeest to consider another new batch.

Our $38 recommendations.

Coast Restaurant

DIVA at the Met

Five Sails Restaurant

Hart House

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

The Keg

L’Abattoir

Pidget

Yew Restaurant + Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)

 

 

 

Tis’ The Season for Food & Fun

Ginger bread houssesHoliday treats #1

Words & Pix: Henry & Stephanie Yuen (Chinese blog: http://taiyangbao.ca/food/292275 )

If you happen to visit Hong Kong this holiday…

Check out 12th Hong Kong WinterFest that highlights “Wishes on the Wind” for the first time at Statue Square, Central.  Three dandelions, each measuring five storeys (15 metres) high, form the art installation. The artwork also consists of 18 seeds, scattered in different corners of Statue Square. This contemporary art installation representing the seeds of hope and good wishes amidst special music and lighting effects and lights up daily from 6pm during “Hong Kong WinterFest” with the lighting effects, in tandem with music. 
  
The Peak and Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck: Love Christmas at The Peak invites all those with romance on their mind to visit and make the season special with spectacular day and night-time views. The Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck will be staging a Christmas Party in the Sky, complete with those incomparable views.
 
Excursion to Ngong Ping 360 Glittering Christmas Village, a unique al fresco experience that includes a festively decorated village on LantauIsland and even carol singing for all on the spectacular cable-car ride. For more details and event listings: 
http://www.discoverhongkong.com/ca/plan-your-trip/latest-promotion/first-travel-hkwf.jsp 

Romantic holiday or family get-away to Ucluelet

Wya Point Resort, Ucluelet, BC ’s new year-round eco-luxury destination, is tucked into a lush coastal rainforest next to an exclusive beach is inviting  guests to ring in the holiday season with its West Coast Christmas package. This package includes a three-night stay in a luxurious beachfront lodge complete with a chef-prepared meal, wine pairings and a Christmas tree trimmed by Wya Point Resort’s very own elves.

On the evening of your choice, Wya Point Resort’s chefs will prepare a holiday meal with wine pairings, and will also deliver your feast right to your door. All you need to do is pour the wine, cozy up next to the fire, and bask in the warm glow of your twinkling Christmas tree while dinner cooks in the oven. At bedtime, snuggle up under luxury linens as the sound of crashing waves lulls you into a restful sleep.

Way Point’s “The West Coast Christmas Package” includes:

           - Three-night stay in a one- or two-bedroom lodge

            - Holiday meal for two or four

            - Wine paired with meal

            - Decorated Christmas tree to enjoy in your living room

Festival of Trees Celebrations
Four Season Hotel Vancouver lights up The 27th Annual Festival of Trees and transforms the Hotel’s first and second-floor lobbies showcases Christmas trees creatively decorated by various sponsors to raise funds and awareness for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

This charming display marks the start of the All trees will be on display in the lobby of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and in the Pacific Centre Mall located in downtown Vancouver until January 6, 2014.

Before or after you go and bewitched by the glittering trees,  don’t forget to stop by YEW restaurant and pick up one or more of their famous and highly-demanded holiday Stollen – Dense, rum-soaked and wrapped around a core of creamy marzipan, this much anticipated Christmas treat is back for a limited time only.  Once again legendary baker and former Four Seasons Vancouver chef, Gerhart Weitzel steps out of retirement and back into the kitchen with his decades-old secret recipe to bake thousands of this traditional delight.  Call head for orders of four or more – 604.692.4939.

Sutton Place Hotel’s Festival of Trees and Turkey-To-Go Dinner with all the trimmings 

Sutton Place Hotel, with a parade of creatively decorated Christmas trees also for the same good cause, is another great place to stroll around this season. Do check out their very popular Yuletide Brunch.  If you want to enjoy a traditional Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings and without all the work, the team of chefs here, led by Chef Alex Chan, will prepare a mouth-watering turkey dinner and have it ready for you to pick up. Available December 24th, 25th & 26th.

$350.00 excluding GST (Serves 8 – 12 people)
Approximate weight of turkey is 18lbs.

Dinner includes:
• Roasted Turkey
• Herb Stuffing
• Brussel Sprouts
• Ragout of Vegetables
• Mashed Potatoes
• Cranberry Sauce
• Turkey Jus
• Dinner Rolls
• Cranberry Cheese Cake

Orders will be taken until Thursday, December 20th at 12:00pm (while quantities last) 604.682.5511  http://vancouver.suttonplace.com

Tree Festival

Self-indulging, stocking stuffing, gift giving…

Dickens Lunch Buffet at Hart House Restaurant

Burnaby residences or their neighbours have been enjoying this holiday treat for years. This is the last week to indulge into the classic Christmas tables of traditional goodies. Don’t forget BurnabyHeritageMuseum is just next door! 604-298-4278  http://harthouserestaurant.com

David Hawksworth’s Bel Café   604-673-7000  http://www.belcafe.com

a mini Christmas tree made with macarons at BellaFor those coming in for a time-out from all the shopping and downtown activities, try not to come in full, leave room for all the devilish sweet temptations. Always allow time to sit down for a cup of artisan tea, coffee or even wine, what about a cup of Eggnog Latte?  Macaron fans please go with friends of families so you can finish the ‘Bel Macaron Christmas Tree’ all at once. Of course, you can take them home too, along with other take-home sweet treats such as the Bel Buche de Noel and the Bel Christmas Cake!   

Don’t forget, you can always go next door to the Cocktail Bar and start off with the award-winning Chef’s to-die-for snacks, perhaps a dish of DFC – deep fried cauliflower!Chef Hawksworth and his delectable DFC

 

Siena Restaurant is rewarding South Granville merchant shoppers with 15% discount this month till December 30th. All you have to do is show a purchase receipt when you dine at Siena Restaurant. This offer is available nightly after 7:30pm.  Enj0y all bottles of wine at 50% every Monday.

     Siena Restaurant: 1485 W. 12th Ave W, Vancouver. (604) 558-1485

Oyama fans beware! The Oyama Sausage Fast Lane at Granville Island is back by popular demand! If you have not yet done so, email orders online at moreinfo@oyamasausage.ca or call 604 327 7407 ASAP because quantities are limited! For entire pre-order, special pick-up spot set-up on December 22nd, 23rd and 24th from 9:00-4:00 at Granville Island’s entrance to Oyama Sausage. Please allow at least 2 hours notice and bypass the numbers and pick up at this spot upon arrival, someone will look right after you. Please remember to pre-order everything to use this service. Any add-ons require you to take a number, to be fair to everyone else. Please remain at our store when you take a number, do not leave. Otherwise, if we pass by you, you will have to take a new number when you come back.Oyama

Ready-to-gift BC VQA wines available at no extra cost in 10 participating BC Liquor Stores, from now until Christmas:

39th & Cambie 5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver
8th & Cambie 2395 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Alberni & Bute 768 Bute Street, Vancouver
Broadway & Maple 2088 West Broadway, Vancouver
Dunbar 3453 Dunbar Street, Vancouver
LynnValley 15 – 1199 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
Northgate 103 – 3433 North Road, Burnaby
Park Royal 570 Park Royal North, West Vancouver
Richmond Brighouse 100 – 8100 Ackroyd Road, Richmond
Westwood 100 – 2748 Lougheed Highway, Port Coquitlam

 Check out http://bcwi.com to get more details.

12月3日 AM1470 摩登狄寶娜: 飲食博客beyondchopsticks節目筆記

1. Bald Eagle Viewing哈里信河禿鷹全接觸

a) 75-minute Eagle Expedition觀鷹河上遊

FraserRiver Safari Boat 1-866-348-6877 or 604-826-7361

Gather at集合地點: Kilby Historic Site – 215 Kilby Road, Harrison Mills, BC.

David & Safari River Cruise 

b) Pretty Estates Resort  (Sandpiper Golf Course)

Obervation Deck at the beach河岸賞鷹台

14282 Morris Valley Road, Harrison Mills, BC. 604-796-1000

http://www.prettyestateresort.com

沿著路牌指示,經過仍然綠油油的高球場,便可抵達河邊沙灘上的賞鷹台。1 eagle 2 seagulls asea

C) River’s Edge Restaurant at Pretty Estates Resort價廉物美質優高球場食肆

Cheap and good eats before and after bald eagle viewing

A cozy dining room offering homemade-style lunch and dinner using local ingredients.A hearty lunch at River's Edge

d) Rowena’s Inn at Pretty Estates Resort英式懷舊氣氛中嘆英式下午茶

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon Tea in an authentic English tea room.Rowena's Inn afternoon tea

2.  Oh Christmas Trees and Gingerbread Houses

IMG_5828a) Christmas Trees Festival: 聖誕樹為卑詩兒童醫院籌款爭妍麗

市中心兩間大酒店:

Burrard街Sutton Place Hotel

太平洋商場Four Seasons Hotel

b) Gingerbread Houses:

Burrard街Hyatt Regency HotelIMG_5811

3. 1001 Nights at Shangri-La Hotel香格里拉一千零一夜

1128 W. Georgia. 604-689-1120 http://www.shangri-la.com/vancouver

a) Marchants Market 迷你中東市集 – A mini traditional souq market featuring hand-made jewelry, custom-made Persian rugs; and seductive bags of sweets, roasted nuts, herbs, dried fruits and vegetables.  3 – 7pm weekdays, 1 – 7pm weekends.

b) Flavours of the Middle East at Xi Shi Lounge西施廊中東美食 – Popular items such as hummus, falafel, kibbeh and those with strange names such as baba ghanooj, tabbouleh, shish tawouk.baba ghanoushi

c) Live music and entertainment: 歌舞賀佳節

Monday to Saturday 5-7pm Traditional sitar and oud music星期一至六,五至七時傳統樂器演奏

Thursday evenings – Middle Eastern jazz-fusion music by Tarab, a Vancouver-based band. 星期四晚中東爵士樂隊演唱

Friday and Saturday nights – Belly dancers!!

星期五、六晚:風情萬種肚皮舞IMG_5786

Bravos

To Joe Fortes for giving back this Thanksgiving

The Executive Chef, Wayne Sych and Sous Chef, Ryan Green along with some staff volunteered their time cooking and serving  100-150 people a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to the Dudes’ Club at Vancouver Native Health Society on Thursday, October 10th.Joe Forte giving back #1

The Vancouver Native Health Society Men’s Group, The Dudes’ (Downtown Urban Knights Defending Equality and Solidarity) Club began in August 2010 as a response to the overwhelming demand from community members for better health services for men.  There are many services for women and children in the Downtown Eastside, as well as patients with HIV or Hepatitis C, but very few, if any for men on the basis of gender alone.  In fact, men’s health is still an emerging field of medicine that gets scarce attention.

To Prestons for ‘ Taste of Canada’  Comfort Food Menu

The official ‘Taste of Canada’ menu at Preston (CoastCoalHarbor) is an scrumptious way to salute and embrace some of the signature fares of other Provinces. Peace River Bison Carpaccio and Pierogies with crème fraiche of the Prairies; poutine and Montreal smoked meat of La Belle Province; lobster rolls and seafood chowder represent the Maritimes. Even the ‘Westcoast’ menu pays tribute to the beloved bannocks and the Island’s famous Nanaimo Bar. Great comfort food for the right season and reason!Taste of Canada - Maritime

To the new inductees of BC Restaurant Hall of Fame

The 9th Annual Awards saw some of my dear friends in the F&B industry going up the stage to collect one of the most prestigious awards in the province’s culinary world. 

To Julian Bond, a master chef of all trades; has put his distinctive marks in different corner stones of BC’s gourmet arena. One of the big-named chefs who introduced me to the fascinating arena of fine dining when Vancouver was about to make a huge splash in becoming N. America’s top cities to wine and dine, the very humble Julian who is every bit as passionate as day one when it comes to cooking, teaching and creating magic still impresses foodies like me!      

To Christine Coletta whom I’ve known since the mid-80’s when she started kicking up some serious ideas of making the then young and struggling BC wine industry work! This “Friend of the Industry who has provided exceptional support to the restaurant industry” should, if you ask me, be given a special ‘wine merit’ award!

To Joy Metcalfe whom I adored as a CKNW listener when I first entered the field and lucky enough to befriend when I become a media myself. Always warm and kind, Joy never ceases to show her genuine concern and support to everyone she meets! She is the most respected media personality who truly belongs to the community and any industry!   Joy Metcalfe - hall of famerTo Paul Smolen, the silent ‘giant’ who started his restaurateur life almost 4 decades ago, gives so much to the community but never claims credit in his work. Paul’s Hart House Restaurant also makes DeerLakePark a much more delicious place to relax and share a good time with friends and families.

Salutes also to the other inductees Ernst Dorfler, Caren McSherry, John Neate Jr., Wally Shaw, Sean Heather and Jeff Donnelly, for all your hard works and contributions to the restaurant industry and communities!

To the award-winning BC wines and wineries

Nk’Mip Cellars: One Gold winner (Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine 2012), three Silvers (Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir 2010, the Winemaker’s Merlot 2010, and the Winemaker’s Riesling 2011), and nine wines named as Winners (Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 2011, Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 2010, Qwam Qwmt Meritage 2009, Qwam Qwmt Merlot 2009, Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2010, Winemaker’s Pinot Blanc 2012, Winemaker’s Pinot Blanc 2011, and the Winemaker’s Riesling 2012) in the 2013 InterVin International Wine Awards and named as one of the competition’s Wineries of the Year for 2013. The results put Nk’Mip in the Top 10 overall for this year’s competition.

The Steller’s Jay 2008 Vintage Brut has been announced as a Gold Winner The popular B.C. sparkler. The 2008 Steller’s Jay Brut was one of only two Gold Medal winners in the category of nearly 50 entries, and the only traditional method sparkling bubble to strike gold at the prestigious 2013 InterVin International Wine Awards. 

Mission Hill Family Estate took on the best in the world and won top honours as ‘World’s Best Pinot Noir’ in the under 15 category at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London, England.  More than 14,000 wines from 61 regions around the world were entered in the competition in 2013. Mission Hill 2011 Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir won a coveted International Trophy – the competition’s top award, the first time a single wine variety (red or white) from any region in the world has won both a Regional Trophy for ‘Best Wine’ and an International Trophy for ‘World’s Best Wine’ at the Decanter Awards.

Joie Farm won 3 golds – 2011 “En Famille” Reserve Chardonnay” at the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards. The 2011 “En Famille” Reserve Gewurztraminer won the “Best in Class Gold Medal” at the 2013 Los Angeles International Wine Competition; and the PTG garnered another Gold Medal at the 2013 Riverside International Wine Competition.Mission Hill World's best Pinot Noir

Joie 2011 En Famille C + PN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To BC Liquor Stores’s ‘Best of BC’ release

Every year, BC Liquor Stores carefully selects a small collection of BC wines which are in limited supply and high demand. In the interest of fairness to all of their customers, the whole selection is released at once, and this year’s release takes place on Saturday, October 12, 2013 in SignatureBC Liquor Stores across BC. It’s ‘first-come, first served’, so BC wine fans are encouraged to hurry down and snap up the very best that our province has to offer.

The ‘Best of BC’ release and province-wide BC VQA in-store wine tastings. Enjoy a glass of your backyard bounty this month! For details, log onto www.winebc.com