Thursday, December 31, 2009

Home-made Pizzas for New Year's Eve

We thought long and hard about New Year's Eve dinner and we finally decided on making our own pizzas.  We bought pre-made dough, prepared veggies, grated some cheeses, and more.

We all had half a pizza to personally create. Mine had cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, tomato, basil and onions.

Our final pizza right out of the oven...ready for 2010!

Tea in Adonia

We couldn't think of a place to go to this afternoon, so we decided to go for tea in Adonia Tea in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood.

It's my first time here and i found it very cozy.  It's a good place just sit, enjoy tea, and chat with your company.

They serve all kinds of tea from different parts of the world.  We had chai tea served with milk and sugar on the side.  The dishes and tea pot completely matched the atmosphere created by the restaurant.  I got the teaspoon that said Philippines on it, what are the chances of that!?!

It was a nice place so fitting of the neighborhood.

Cafe Medina, Take 2

Last year, I couldn't get enough of Cafe Medina's lavender latte, so this year I had to go back.  Today, I went for lunch.  It's always busy and this time we waited 20 minutes and sat on the bar.

Aside from the lavender latte, I ordered Le Tartine, which was the few vegetarian options.  It was four pieces of sourdough, each topped with something different, such as, marinated carrots, grilled haloume cheese, tabouleh, houmus, and beets.  It was delicious and not just one of those dishes on the menu so that vegetarians have an option.  The meal was worth the wait.

A W-O-W! Dinner at the Pear Tree

It has been so rare lately to eat a meal and say WOW!  I'm finally glad to say that, the moment has come again.

The Pear Tree has been a restaurant I've been hearing about for years, but never managed to make the trek to Burnaby and this trip I did!

The restaurant has a nice outdoor facing that doesn't exactly fit the block.  Walking inside, we were greeted and our coats hanged.  The dining room is shared by everyone, but still felt comfortable.

The meal was amazing. My meal started out with the flamed gin tomato soup.  It was very smooth and light.  The shrimp bisque was a hit too. 

They didn't have great vegetarian options.  It was just all the main courses without the meat. I didn't feel like having mostly carbs with some vegetables, so I opted for the duck dish because it sounded amazing and I still have a weakness for duck.  I'm glad I made this choice because this was one of the best ducks I've had in my life!  It was cooked perfectly, the skin was so crispy and the meat still nicely pink.  It was not so gamey and nor rubbery.  The sauce was sexy (the term we used for in cooking school for good sauces).

It was so good, I finished everything on the plate.

For the dessert, we went for the lighter choice and ordered the lemon tart.   I loved the caramelized sugar on top.

From start to end, it was a great meal; completely satisfying and delightful.

Bagel Craving Satisfied

All of a sudden I got a bagel craving.  I never eat bagels here so I searched on the net and Siegles Bagels always came up.  I drove down to Granville Island Public Market and bought some bagels.

I used to go to Granville Island all the time and would just pass this place.  I bought a sesame bagel with Winnipeg cream cheese and it was so delicious!  The bagel had a really good crust and the inside was so dense it was perfect with all the cream cheese.  It was a craving 100% satisfied.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Some Things Never Change and It's a Good Thing

Back in the day when I was still living in Vancouver, going to culinary school, and working in the restaurant, one of the ultimate best places to eat was in Diva at the Met.  They had the best service, the best chefs, the best food, and the best dessert.  What stands out for me until now is the dessert.

The desserts at Diva is by Thomas Haas, the best pastry guy in town.  He has this warm chocolate souffle cake that is to die for.  It's just the best.  I still remember tasting it for the first time, tasting it again, and I still remember how it tasted.  The last few days before I left Vancouver for good, I volunteered for Haas for one of the wine events and in return he gave me a few cakes.  I had enough to eat one a day until the day I left.  It was just heaven, so tonight, we decided to revive the dining experience from a few years ago.

I hate to write negative things, but the night did not kick off too well.  We had a server with a fake French accent.  He was extremely rude and lazy.  I don't want to elaborate on how his service was because I don't think all servers in the restaurant are like him, but service is extremely important to the dining experience and tonight it was terrible and just annoyingly distracting throughout the whole night.

The food was very disappointing as well.  It was obvious that changes were made in the menu to cut down food costs, which is not the problem.  The problem was nothing was cooked well.  It is so far from the quality of cooking it used to be.

The best part of the squash bisque was the presentation and will just leave it at that.

The Waldorf Salad was much better than the soup. The panna cotta went well with the cut green apples, but after a few bites, I just didn't want anymore.  It's a good thing it was shared.

The vegetable pot au feu was edible.  The flavours were just all over the place.  The strong miso broth, the many onions, some pickled vegetables, and hot mustard just did not mix well for me.

The best part of the night was the dessert.  I came for the souffle cake and that's what I ordered.  I'm so relieved that it did not let me down one bit.  It's still exactly how it used to be; the taste, the ingredients, and the extreme satisfaction.  The cake is warm and a tempered chocolate disc is served on top which melts and serves as a sauce.  There is also pistachio ice cream on the side which provides a contrast in temperature and complements the chocolate.  It's just the perfect dessert and a good end to what could have been a terrible night.

Roasted Chestnuts

I'm a chestnut person.  In Vancouver, it only comes out during the Christmas holidays and sold in carts, roasted right on the street location.

I salivate when I smell the chestnuts and I like that it's roasted without oil.  I always ask for the burnt ones because those are the best.

Pain au Chocolate to Start Boxing Day

Boxing Day in Vancouver is always crazy.  We decided to start the day off with a pain au choclat.  We stopped by Thomas Haas' store, but it was closed.  A few blocks away on 4th is the next best thing.  The coffee shop 49th Parallel gets its baked goods from Haas so that is the place we headed for.

It's just as good as the one from Haas' store.  It was a very good start to the crazy day ahead.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Purity Vegetarian

On Christmas Day, my aunt's restaurant, Purity Vegetarian, was open so she had to work.  We still wanted to all be together so we ate dinner at the restaurant.  There were more of us, so I got to try out more dishes...yay!

We went through the menu and I listed down all the dishes we were ordering.

For starters, we had the squid rings and fried oysters.

For the main courses, we ordered beef with pepper sauce, sizzling tofu, pan fried chicken, chili eggplant.

Also had the sesame noodles.

At the end of the night I was so stuffed, but satisfied.  I enjoy the dishes with real vegetables much more than the imitation meats.  My favorite dishes of the night was the noodles, tofu, and eggplant.  It is definitely a different Christmas compared to other years, but I still enjoyed it.

Best Pain au Chocolat in Town

I can still remember the first time I tasted the best pain au chocolat I've ever had.  It's by Thomas Haas and when I used to live here, it was only available in Senses, downtown.  Thomas now has shops in North Vancouver and recently one on Broadway. 

The first time I went to the Broadway shop, I arrived at about 11am and they were already sold out! So I went back the next day at around 10am and was able to get the last two; had one for breakfast at the shop and the other to take home. 

I like the place.  It does get crowded, but it doesn't feel congested.  Aside from the pain au chocolat, I really love the sparkle cookies. 

We went back on Boxing Day, but unfortunately it was closed.  I think it's the best chocolate goodies in town! 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Back in Vancouver and it's Bubble Tea Time Again

I got hooked on to bubble tea while living in Vancouver.  There are so many good places to have it here and one of them is in Pearl Castle Cafe in Richmond.  This place is always busy because their drinks and food are so yummy!

Cows in Whistler

One of my favorite things to eat in Whistler is poutine and Cows ice cream with their own freshly made waffle cones.  I had the ice cream this morning before we headed back to the city and it was still good. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Individual Homestyle Stir Fry

We drove up to Whistler yesterday for the weekend.  We were fortunate that someone welcomed us to stay in their home. Everyone had different tastes so we got to make our own dinner.

We chose what we wanted in our dish and cooked it ourselves.

  Many sauces available:

I chose some vegetables with a sauce that consisted of sesame, soy, teriyaki sauce, and lemon.  This is how my dish turned out as, served with brown rice:

Ended the night with home made apple crumble and the Vancouver Canucks winning the hockey game.

It was a good night in.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home @ Purity Vegetarian

I'm happily back home in Vancouver for the Christmas holidays and for my first meal back, I chose to eat at Purity Vegetarian.  I have never been here, but have supported it from the beginning.  Yes, I am biased because one of the owners is actually my aunt. 

During my university days when I lived alone at home, my aunt would always send me my favorites (like adobo,  beef stew, paella, chicken broth, etc) because it's not ones I knew how to cook, or had time to cook, or not something I could cook for one.

My aunt is also a food lover and puts care in everything she makes just like my grandfather.  Each dish I received never disappointed and always provided me comfort especially when the stress level from school was high.  So I knew even without tasting the dishes it was going to be good.  Last night,  I was excited to see my aunt and finally try her new restaurant in Richmond called Purity Vegetarian.

The restaurant is very casual and feels very open and welcoming.  

 The head of front of house is behind the cash register giving us a discrete and pleasant smile as I eagerly wait for the food to come.

I was at the hands of my company to order me whatever they recommended.  The first was the veggie meat wrap in brown sauce.  It's like the Peking duck course without the duck.  It was very good, the "meat" is actually pretty well resembled, the vegetables adds nice texture, and the sauce is quite tasty.

Another dish was the crispy veggie oyster with salt and pepper.  It looks more like nuggets to me. The colors of the tofu are the colors of oyster and does have a hint of oyster taste.  I must say this is my favorite dish.  The tofu has a unique taste with the combination of being perfectly seasoned. I could finish the whole dish on my own. It was good on its own or eaten with the accompanied radish.

The other dish we had was the crispy bean curd sheets layered with taro.  The taro was very smooth and the taste was very pure, which contrasted well with breaded bean curd.  Eating it alone, or with the sauce and/or radish changes the taste of each bite.

We had so much food that there was no more room for dessert! The desserts are fabulous in the's made by the the genius pastry chef cousin of mine. (Again not biased! Her desserts are just always good.)  I will definitely try it on my next trip. 

Although these dishes aren't the same the ones from my university days, it still gives the same feeling of comfort.  It is not just another restaurant trying taking your money with mediocre food.  This is a place where food made with love and service from people that spreads love.  It feels like home sweet home.

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