munchkie's munchies

musings on food, drink and culture plus random recipes

Munchkie has moved!


…And changed her name to food punk. Follow the feast, the adventures and stories here: http://foodpunk.ca/

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Filed under: moving day

McDonald’s Cookies N’ Cream Pie & Creme Brulee McFlurry: My guilty pleasures


Creme Brulee McFlurry, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

McDonald’s

#103 – 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

I usually never blog about McDonald’s unless I am overseas but recently, the fast food chain added two unique items to their menu that I had to try!

Creme Brulee McFlurry, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

Creme Brulee McFlurry, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

I saw a picture of the Creme Brulee McFlurry on a friend’s foursquare check-in and made a mental note to try it. I love creme brulee. I live for that first crack of my teaspoon breaking the brittle candy shell protecting the thick, creamy custard underneath. The Creme Brulee McFlurry didn’t exactly have a caramelized candy shell over it, rather, there were bits of crunchy caramel sprinkled on top. I guess it’s sort of the same sensation of crunchy versus creamy textures. The caramel bits were definitely tasty, very sweet, sticky and crunchy. They were so crunchy and sticky though that a layer of it started coating my teeth as I got deeper and deeper into the McFlurry. When I finished, I was pretty much eating candy coated McNuggets since the sugar had formed some sort of shell over my teeth. It took a while for the sugar to melt away.

Cookies N' Cream Pie, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

Next up was the much-hyped Cookies N’ Cream pie. I didn’t know what to expect since when I pulled the warm little pie out of the box, it didn’t look the most appetizing. At least with Oreo cookies (that inspired this pie), they’re sandwich cookies so you can clearly see the creamy white filling but this is a pie that is pretty much the colour of dirt. It smelled delicious though, like hot chocolate.

Cookies N' Cream Pie, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

I was pretty blown away on my first bite though. The pie was warm and so scrumptiously sweet and creamy on the inside. It was like eating a giant hot Oreo. The cream was thick and dense, almost the texture of melted marshmallow. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Cookies N' Cream Pie, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

I loved that the sweet cream filling contrasted with the outer chocolate crust, the crust actually tasted nuttier with a slight chocolate bitterness so it was a good balance of a dessert. I’ll definitely be going back to McDonald’s for more of these Cookies N’ Cream pies!

Cookies N' Cream Pie, McDonald's, #103 - 345 Robson Street, Vancouver

McDonald's (Library Square) on Urbanspoon

Filed under: restaurant, reviews, , , ,

Champagne and Cartems Donuts: Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala at Opus Hotel


Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Opus Hotel

322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

My two great loves are food and fashion so I was excited to attend Vancouver Fashion Week’s Opening Gala at the Opus Hotel with Rick, Sophia and Missy. Hot on the tails of London’s and Paris’s Fashion Weeks, Vancouver’s very own showcase of local talent in addition to designers from fashion capitals, London, Milan, and Paris hit the runway at the Chinese Cultural Centre starting today until Sunday (March 21 to 25). Check the Vancouver Fashion Week website for show times and a full list of designers.

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

When we arrived at the opening gala at Opus Hotel, it was packed. Literally shoulder to shoulder. Our guide for the night was Fashion Week volunteer and social media extraordinaire, Sandra Chung. Sandra lead us upstairs to different rooms in Opus Hotel, each room displaying the creations of a different designer. Jeweled pumps and necklaces were strewn on beds and on dressers in the rooms. We were all drooling over the shoes.

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Cartems Donuts, Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

I will confess that my favourite room was the Penthouse suite where Cartems Donuts was set up along with beer and champagne. I’ve tried Cartems Donuts before but never in these delectable bite-sized portions. They were just as tasty as the full sized donuts.

Cartems Donuts, Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

Nothing says high fashion like gourmet bite-sized donuts and champagne at one of Vancouver’s most stylish hotels!

Cartems Donuts, Vancouver Fashion Week Opening Gala, Opus Hotel, 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, Vancouver

I had a great time at the opening gala, even though, it was so crowded in the lobby that at some points, I felt like I would be trampled (by a random super tall stiletto heel). It was a nice glimpse into the fast-paced world of high fashion.

Filed under: festival, reviews, , , , , , , ,

Thomas Haas: Macarons that Dreams Are Made Of


Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie

998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

There’s nothing like girl talk on a sunny patio with macarons, cakes and croissants! Diana of Foodology, Anita of La Petite Foodie, Amy of Food Queen and Kathy of kathygko.blogspot.ca and I decided to check out Thomas Haas’ North Vancouver shop. I had never been so I was thrilled! French macarons are at the top of my list of favourite desserts, right up there with New York cheesecake and creme brulee.

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

It was pretty packed in the shop. Thomas Haas wasn’t there, unfortunately. Anita told us that he is often seen in his shops. Tucked away in a corner is his wall of fame though, newspaper articles, awards and photos of the famous pastry chef.

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Lemon lemon tarts, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

The display cases of beautiful cakes made it almost impossible to choose, I wanted to eat everything available! I finally settled on the lemon tart with shortbread crust. I love shortbread and only exclusively eat cheesecakes with shortbread crusts (Carnegie Deli in NYC makes killer ones).

Macarons, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Macarons, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

From the lovely lineup of macarons I chose vanilla, lemon, passion fruit and kalamansi. Anita and Amy grabbed the last of the mango coconut macarons!

Milk chocolate passion fruit cream cake, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Milk chocolate and passion fruit cream cake, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Suffering from another case of wishing I got what the other person ordered, I fell in love with Amy’s milk chocolate and passion fruit cake upon my first taste. The chocolate was so rich, smooth and decadent and that punch of sweet and tangy passion fruit cream in the middle made this cake incredible. Darn it! Why didn’t I pick a chocolate dessert?!

Lemon lemon tart, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Lemon lemon tart, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Lemon lemon tart, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Lemon lemon tart, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Although, my dessert was not chocolate, it was still just as rich and equally beautiful. Whereas the milk chocolate and passion fruit cream cake had a contrast of flavours in the sweet chocolate and tangy passion fruit, the lemon tart that I ordered was oozing of thick, creamy and over-the-top sweet and tart lemon curd. I loved the structure that the shortbread crust gave this tart and the cookie crust was so soft, crumbly and buttery that I would be happy just eating the crust alone!

I didn’t get a nibble of Diana’s chocolate cake but needless to say that it looked chic and stunning on the plate.

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Now onto the macarons! I always order vanilla macarons wherever I go. Can’t mess with the classics. As soon as I bit into this macaron, I knew what everyone was raving about. The texture was perfect. Crisp and delicate outer shell, chewy interior that held up the outer shell, no collapsing here! And the cream filling. Amazing! It was sweet, fluffy and fresh tasting, no bitter aftertaste of vanilla extract. It’s hard to savor macarons, I’m usually a two-bite macaron eater but I stretched this one out to four. It was that delicious. Nobody loves macarons more than me. If Laduree ever opened in Canada, I’d start living in the shop.

Macarons, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Vanilla macaron, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

I also had a lemon macaron to go with my lemon tart. It wasn’t as tangy as the tart. The fluffy cream was sweet and tasted more of lemon jam. I couldn’t stop staring at the perfectly symmetrical little feet running all around the macaron. Thomas Haas is a true artist.

Lemon macaron, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Lemon macaron, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

The other citrus macaron that I tried was the kalamansi. I’ve never tried kalamansi fruits before but the macaron was very tasty, a little bit more tangy than the lemon macaron. This one made me think of the funky coloured macarons from Pierre Herme.

Kalamansi macaron, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

The pale orange macaron was the passion fruit. I have no idea how such a little cookie can be so flavourful but it was as if the passion fruit juice was bursting from the middle of this cookie. Again, the texture of the macaron was perfectly chewy and slowly melted into a sugary dream in my mouth. I love macaron flavours but am more attracted to the deliciously chewy cookies over the cream fillings. I am now officially addicted to Thomas Haas’ macarons.

Passion fruit macaron, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Passion fruit macaron, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Since the sun was still shining over the crowded patio and we were right in the thick of some juicy girl talk, we decided to nibble on a couple of croissants too. The butter croissant was just as I expected, flaky, light but also rich in butter flavours. It made me think of Paris immediately.

Butter croissant, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Butter croissant, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

The almond croissant I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with, after all I am not a huge fan of almonds. But my goodness, was this ever an amazing croissant! Filled with a thick and sticky almond paste and covered in slivered, toasted almonds and sugar, thanks to Thomas Haas, I am now an almond croissant convert.

Double baked almond croissant, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

I never thought I’d find macarons that I would love more than Pierre Herme’s but in a gastronomical paradise like Vancouver, anything is possible!

Double baked almond croissant, Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Filed under: reviews, snacks, , , , , , ,

Hawksworth: Giant fries and Mouth-Watering Confit Pork Shoulder


Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Hawksworth

801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, inside the Hotel Georgia

Opened by former Executive Chef from West, David Hawksworth, this restaurant was on my wishlist for a while. When we sat down, I was instantly in love with the eye-catching art deco wall.

Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

I knew exactly what I wanted to order: the confit pork shoulder served with braised lentils, apple and walnut. I’m not crazy about lentils but I am definitely crazy about pork. And the pork shoulder smelled so incredible when it came to the table that I could care less that it was on top of a bed of lentils.

Confit pork shoulder, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The colours were beautiful, the deep pink pork against the earthy green lentils with pale, paper thin ribbons of apple shavings on top. The apple shavings were surprisingly juicy and sweet, bringing out the robust pork flavours. After all, what’s a more classic pairing than apples and pork.

Confit pork shoulder with apple, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Confit pork shoulder, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

I’m not sure what the foam was but it was sweet and tangy, only David Hawksworth can make even foam tasty and memorable.

Confit pork shoulder, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The pork shoulder was so tender that I didn’t even need my knife. Just a few pokes from my fork made the meat fall apart. And the flavours! It was salty and moist, like the best cross between the tastiest piece of bacon and the juiciest pork chop.

Confit pork shoulder, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The walnuts also added a wonderful crunch to contrast with the soft and tender pork meat.

Hawksworth beef burger, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The Hawksworth beef burger was plated so neatly that it almost looked like a toy on the picnic board. I was also amused that the fat fries were arranged in the shape of an ‘H’ for Hawksworth.

Fries, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Even though the beef patty was very thick, the meat turned out to be extremely moist and tender. The applewood smoked bacon was the perfect crispiness and was nutty and salty.

Hawksworth beef burger, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The fries were so huge, we had to eat them with a knife and fork. But boy, were they tasty, crispy on the outside and soft, and fluffly on the inside. They were like baked potato sticks.

Fries, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Fries, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The steelhead salmon was also very delicious, cooked to a perfect medium rare, the meat was a gorgeous pink. It was juicy and flavourful, the fresh salmon flavours coming through nicely. I also loved the crispy skin on the fish.

Steelhead salmon, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The crispy chips sprinkled on top of the fish also added an extra, playful and tasty element to the dish.

Steelhead salmon, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The cauliflower puree was smooth and creamy, the perfect accompaniment for the delicate salmon.

Steelhead salmon and cauliflower puree, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

I really must find out where to buy the pretty glasses here, with their curved tops, the glasses were stylish and practical (anti-dribble!)

Glass, Hawksworth, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

I loved our lunch at Hawksworth and will definitely return again to try brunch and dinner.

Hawksworth on Urbanspoon

Filed under: fine dining, lunch, restaurant, reviews, , , , , , , ,

L’Abattoir: Picasso Plating, Bacon Brioche and Incredible Duck Breast


L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

L’Abattoir

217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Gastown has become the new hip hub for great restaurants. I’ve been hearing endless raves about L’Abattoir and finally tried it last week. I was not disappointed. I love the cozy, intimate but cosmopolitan ambiance of L’Abattoir. I really like the metal menus too!

Metal menus, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Bread basket, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

First off, I was already impressed by their bread basket. They served bacon brioche! The key to my heart is bacon.

Bacon brioche, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

It wasn’t just bacon bits sprinkled on top of this fluffy little bun either. The bacon was distributed throughout the bread, I got a little bit in each bite. Delish!

Bacon brioche, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Bacon brioche, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The other bread basket goodies included cheese sticks and a flat bread. The salty cheese sticks were my second favourite. I’m pretty neutral on crunchy flat bread in general.

Cheese sticks, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Flat bread, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

For drinks, I decided to order a light, fruity and refreshing French white: Monmousseau (2010) from Turonien Vouvray, Loire, France.

Monmousseau '10 Turonien Vouvray, Loire, France, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Monmousseau '10 Turonien Vouvray, Loire, France, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

We also ordered two cocktails: the Gastown Swizzle: Plymouth gin, Aperol, passion fruit, fresh lime twists and Fernet Float. The gorgeous drink was a brilliant orange and tasted fruity and sweet with a splash of citrus from the lime. We were actually more intrigued by the metal spoon/straw sticking out of the drink (I was dining with a mechanical engineer). We didn’t discover that the hollow metal rod was also a spoon until we got to the bottom of the drink. How practical!

Gastown Swizzle, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Gastown Swizzle, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Gastown Swizzle, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Gastown Swizzle metal spoon/straw, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Gastown Swizzle metal spoon/straw, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Gastown Swizzle metal spoon/straw, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

We ordered the Aviation because on the menu it was compared to a Cosmo but it was far from it. It wasn’t exactly sweet and the gin really dominated the drink.

Aviation, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Aviation, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

One of the memorable things about L’Abattoir was the striking plating. It literally was like every plate was a canvas and the food and swirl of sauce on each plate created such a visual masterpiece that I felt guilty messing everything up with my fork.

Duck breast, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Duck breast, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

I ordered the roasted duck breast of course. It was served with a fried confit leg, beets and a foie gras sauce. For a second, I thought the duck breast was bleeding on the plate but turns out those streaks of red were just from the bright red beets.

Duck breast, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The duck breast was amazing, succulent, juicy, with just the right amount of fat topped off with crispy skin.

Duck breast, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Duck breast, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

And the rich, creamy foie gras sauce really tied the dish together, complimenting the robust duck flavours and adding a rich butter flavour to the vegetables. I actually polished off all the leafy greens from my plate. That never happens. Ask anyone.

Steak Diane, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The Steak Diane (not sure who this is named after) was plated in an equally gorgeous way, like a work of art with steaks of sauce artistically drawn across the black plate.

Steak Diane, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Steak Diane, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Steak Diane, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Each piece of steak was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. The peppercorns sprinkled over the top were a little heavy but really enhanced the natural sweetness of the meat.

Steak Diane, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Potato, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The crispy little knob of potato fondant was so delicious! Crispy on the outside and chewy and salty on the inside.

Roast scallops and potato gnocchi, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

I can’t say enough about the roasted scallops and potato gnocchi. First of all, I love both these items to death anyway, and L’Abattoir only made me love them more. I like how they didn’t get stingy with the scallops, the plate was piled high with four big ones with a big handful of tender little gnocchi. Admittedly, this was my friend’s dish but I ate most of it! It was so delicious!

Roast scallops and potato gnocchi, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Needless to say that like the other two plates, the plate of scallops were presented in an impeccably breath-taking manner, with the flat leaf parsley and mushrooms sprinkled over the scallops, making me think of a wild, majestic, woodland fairytale filled princesses, fairy godmothers and white knights.

Roast scallop, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The scallops were roasted perfectly, amazingly tender in the middle with a light char on the outside.

Roast scallops and potato gnocchi, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The chewy little gnocchi were rich and melt-in-your-mouth good, soaking up the rich sauce and flavours from the dish.

Celeriac, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The thick twirl of celeriac was also scrumptious, a little bit crunchy and drenched in flavour.

Chocolate caramel bar, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

We saved room for dessert and ordered two items: the pineapple upside down cake and the chocolate caramel bar.

Chocolate caramel bar, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The chocolate caramel bar was beautiful, like it was wearing a stylish fascinator. I loved the dense and heavy chocolate bar on the bottom of this dessert square. The chocolate yogurt custard was the perfect, light and fluffy texture to compliment the heavier chocolate in this dessert. My friend and I loved the crunchy puffed rice in this dish too, the little kernels added great dimension to the dessert.

Chocolate caramel bar, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The banana ice cream was also delicious, sweet and fruity, the best combo of a banana split in one decadent scoop.

Pineapple upside down cake, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

The pineapple upside down cake was dense and crumbly, topped with the stickiest, gooiest, sweetest cooked pineapple. This dessert totally hit the spot.

Pineapple upside down cake, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Pineapple upside down cake, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Pineapple upside down cake with passion fruit jelly, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Pineapple upside down cake with passion fruit jelly, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

We also loved the little, bouncy cubes of passion fruit jelly, tasting sweet and tropical. The fluffy mascarpone cream was delicious, adding the element of creaminess to this dessert. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Mascarpone cream, L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street, Vancouver

I had such a great time at L’Abattoir. The service was impeccable. I can’t wait to go back!

L'Abattoir on Urbanspoon

Filed under: fine dining, restaurant, reviews, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top Chef Texas Finale Viewing Party at O Lounge, Coast


Top Chef Texas Finale

O Lounge inside Coast

1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Rick and I went back to Coast for the Top Chef Texas Finale viewing party held in O Lounge. We sat with buddies, Kevin, Grace and Bennett. I am actually a huge fan of the Top Chef series and usually follow the show religiously. I was too busy this time around to watch every episode, I actually haven’t watched since one of the early episodes when one of the competitors just about cut off his finger but still kept cooking. Too bad he didn’t make it to the finale! The two Finale chefs were Paul and Sarah. About five minutes into the show, I was already rooting for Paul. His dishes seemed so much more appealing and I loved how he married the classic and upscale with the comfort, i.e., his congee, slow scrambled eggs and the uni. I was drooling as the camera panned in for the glamour shot of that dish. And that dessert! Who just whips out some liquid nitrogen as a quick fix? What a pro! I loved that he was able to impress the judges just with the foam on his dessert and puffed rice! I am a sucker for puffed rice. I was thrilled when Paul was crowned Top Chef Texas!

I still haven’t figured out why but the Finale for Top Chef Texas was filmed in both Coast and Black + Blue (still on my eating wish list!). It was wonderful to see Vancouver restaurants get such high profile exposure though! Go Canada!

O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I confess that I was very distracted by the delicious appetizers being passed around throughout the show. Some of the snacks were the same mini bites served at last week’s Dining out for Life fundraiser. There was also a refreshing, fruity, light white wine being served as the house wine. And they were very speedy on topping up our glasses. Literally, I’d take one sip, put the glass down and two seconds later, the glass was full again. If that’s not good service, I don’t know what is.

House wine, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

A nice, light vegetarian appy was the beets and blue cheese salad bite, sweet, juicy and a little salty from the cheese. It was a little awkward to eat for a klutz like myself but it was still very tasty!

Beets and goat's cheese salad, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I also enjoyed the little spoonfuls of tuna with lychee and a little bath of sesame oil. The tuna was silky and smooth.

Ahi tuna crudo, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I was impressed by the sushi rolls too! The two types was a fresh tasting mango California roll with a soft and sweet slice of mango right on top. The spicy ahi tuna roll lit my tongue on fire right away but everyone else seemed to think it was pretty mild. Thanks, Kevin for letting me highjack your Canon DSLR for the sharp pics!

Mango Califoria roll and Spicy Ahi tuna roll, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Mango Califoria roll and Spicy Ahi tuna roll, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Mango Califoria roll and Spicy Ahi tuna roll, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

My favourite appies of the night were the breaded oyster patty sliders. We were almost fighting over them as picnic boards of them kept disappearing quickly around us. Despite being small, these sliders were packed with flavour. The oyster meat patty was tender, flavourful with a slight (but delicious) briny finish and the bread was soft and delicate. We were actually still snacking on these after the Finale was over.

Oyster sliders, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Sliders, O Lounge inside Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I would totally go back to O Lounge for these yummy sliders alone!

Coast Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Filed under: restaurant, reviews, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coast: Dining out for Life Launch Party


Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Coast

1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Dining Out for Life

With my partner in crime, Rick Chung, we attended the Dining out for Life launch party at Coast’s O Lounge. I am a huge fan of Chef Josh Wolfe, but have never been to Coast so I was excited to snack on delicious appetizers and learn more about a great cause: Dining Out for Life.

Dining out for Life Launch Party, Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Dining Out for Life is a restaurant fundraiser in partnership with charities, A Loving Spoonful and Friends for Life along with a long roster of Vancouver and Whistler’s best restaurants to raise money for HIV/AIDS support services in BC. The event takes place on March 29 so make sure you visit a participating restaurant! A complete list is on the Dining Out for Life website: www.diningoutforlife.com/vancouver.

Coast Coolers, Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

As for the nibbles at the launch party, I finally tried the famous blue Coast cooler cocktail: Gekkeikan draft sake, apricot brandy, blue curacao lemon and orange juice. It was sweet, very slightly fizzy and of the girly drink variety that I love.

Oyster Ceviche, Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

The Coast coolers actually went deliciously with the oyster ceviche, perched on pink sea salt on the half shell. I almost thought they were too pretty to eat. The plump kusshi oysters (my fave!) were buttery, fresh with a slightly spicy seasoning sprinkled over top.

Oyster Ceviche, Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I also love the intimate feel of the O Lounge at Coast, a wonderful space to kick back and relax after work.

Dining out for Life Launch Party, Coast, 1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Don’t forget to check out some restaurants for Dining out for Life on March 29, 2012!

Coast Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Filed under: restaurant, reviews, , , , , , , ,

Yelp Full Moon Party at Pink Elephant Thai


Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Pink Elephant Thai

1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

To celebrate the full moon, Yelp Vancouver threw a party at Pink Elephant Thai! Rick Chung invited me to attend. I’ve never been to Pink Elephant Thai, let alone a Yelp party. There’s a first time for everything.

Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I love Yelp’s branding efforts, scattered all around tables and booths are tins of Yelp mints and chapsticks. You can’t exactly tell, but the mints line up on the table to read “Yelp.” I will confess that my purse is spilling full of Yelp branded chapsticks right now.

Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Yelp mints, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Yelp chapstick, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

The cocktail that I tried was aptly named the ‘Full Moon Cocktail,’ a tasty, fruity concoction of vodka, banana liquor, apricots and pineapple juice. A fun, girly drink- I’d call it a good school night drink.

Full Moon cocktail, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Full Moon cocktail, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

The food that was passed around throughout the night was delectable. Well, maybe except for the tofu, only because I don’t believe in soggy, finger food. It’s definitely too awkward to eat at a party with toothpicks and napkins!

Spring rolls, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

The crispy, mini spring rolls were addictive. Piping hot and filled with seasoned veggies.

Fish cake, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

The bite-sized fried fish cake patties were also scrumptious.

Fried Prawn dumplings, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

My fave of the night were the deep fried prawn dumplings. Super crispy on the outside with crunchy tips and jam-packed with tender prawns on the inside.

Tofu, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Spicy eggplant, Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

My least favourite appetizers had to be the egg plant and tofu. Only due to texture. I’m clumsy as it is, so to eat soggy and limp food is a true challenge for me! I did enjoy the spicy taste of the eggplant though!

Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Near the end of the night, a traditional Thai dancer descended the stairs in style and grace. You can imagine the amount of cameras and camera phones that went off at this point. It was a beautiful dance, and a great way to tie together the Thai themed evening.

Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

I had a great time at my first Yelp Party. Can’t wait till the next party!

Pink Elephant Thai, 1152 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Pink Elephant Thai on Urbanspoon

Filed under: restaurant, reviews, , , , , , ,

Twisted Fork Bistro: Fully-Loaded Smoked Salmon Eggs Benny


Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Twisted Fork Bistro

1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

If you’re looking for a funky place for brunch, Twisted Fork is it! We woke up early so we didn’t have to stand in line, but if you arrive any time after noon on the weekend, the line-up is out the door.

Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

I love everything about this place from the cool decor, cozy ambiance, down to the cleverly mangled forks attached to the clipboard menus.

Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Also in back is a shelf full of house-made Twisted Fork jam. I live for jam, and can eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon (just like Joey Tribbiani from Friends). To my delight, before our food, some house-made melon jam and whipped butter was served with our fluffy herb and Asiago cheese scones. These scones were almost as cloud-like and fluffy as my faves from Creme de la Crumb.

French Press coffee, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

I love that Twisted Fork serves coffee with French Presses. It just makes brunch that much better with the smell of freshly pressed grounds wafting around the table. The coffee tasted fresh, nutty and rich.

Asiago cheese scones, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Asiago cheese scones, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Asiago cheese scones, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

The melon jam was sweet and refreshing and the whipped butter was seductively creamy and smooth. I’m pretty sure I could polish it off with a spoon too.

Melon jam, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Asiago cheese scones, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Whipped butter, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Asiago cheese scone, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

To no surprise, I ordered the Banana stuffed brioche French toast. I love French toast and bananas so this was the best combo. My plate came piled high with two very thick pieces of toast with hot and sweet banana oozing out the middle. I was drooling as I cut into it.

Banana stuffed brioche French Toast, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Banana stuffed brioche French Toast, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

The brioche bread although crusty on the outside was soft, moist and fluffy on the inside, and that creamy, sticky banana in the middle tasted incredible. I loved that it stuck to the roof of my mouth and also added such delicious moisture to the firm brioche bread. The brioche, being a stiffer texture than regular white bread, soaked up the maple syrup beautifully.

Banana stuffed brioche French Toast, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Banana stuffed brioche French Toast, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Banana stuffed brioche French Toast, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Banana stuffed brioche French Toast, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

I also enjoyed the fresh fruit served on the side of the French toast, and that heavenly dollop of fresh vanilla whipped cream. What a decadent way to start a weekend!

Smoked salmon Eggs Benny, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

Smoked salmon Eggs Benny, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

The other dish we ordered was the Eggs Benny with smoked salmon. What I love about the eggs benny here is that they don’t skimp on the hollandaise sauce or smoked salmon at all. It’s piled on to the max on top of the toast.

Smoked salmon Eggs Benny, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

I can’t even begin to tell you how finger-licking (or shall I call it twisted fork-licking) good those ribbons of smoked salmon drenched in hollandaise sauce and egg yolk tasted. It was sweet, salty and smooth in my mouth.

Smoked salmon Eggs Benny, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

The ultimate test of any eggs benny, of course is if the yolks of the poached eggs are runny. Twisted Fork’s eggs benny more than passed the test as that glorious golden yolk flowed all over the plate as soon as we cut it open.

Hash browns, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

The crispy hash brown served with the eggs benny is also worth a mention. Very crispy on the outside, it was soft and fluffy on the inside and very flavourful, not too salty.

Hash browns, Twisted Fork Bistro, 1147 Granville Street, Vancouver

I will gladly return to Twisted Fork for brunch or dinner!

Twisted Fork Bistro on Urbanspoon

Filed under: brunch, restaurant, reviews, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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