Posts tagged Vancouver
Heading back to trendy Yaletown for lunch we stopped for the dinning experience that I was looking forward to the most. My love for oysters and of fresh raw seafood eateries in general is unexplainable. It is hands down my favorite stuff to eat! So when in a coastal city known for its local sea food products I could not wait to get my hands on some sea critters freshly caught that morning. Rodney’s Oyster House was everything an oyster house should be. Small, loud, very casual, with few menu options, and live crustaceans swimming around in a tank. We sat at the bar where ten different types of oysters (mostly local) sat artistically on ice with their labeled names given by discovering fishermen throughout time. I ordered two of each, when I realized my cousin is not an oyster fan, but like any San Franciscan with a true love for oysters, my stomach is always more than well prepared for such an occasion. Here in San Francisco we have mignonette, in Vancouver they have a plethora of vinaigrettes for their oysters that where both delicious and exciting, but left me completely overwhelmed. Like any good server should do, the guys here made sure I tried their oysters the Canadian way. Though I was really impressed by the variety of flavors form so many topping options, I’d rather stick to the way we like to eat our oysters here- a little mignonette with lemon and a dab of Tabasco. To be honest the best way to eat an oyster for true love rather than for dinning opulence is to just eat the little suckers plain. I paired my oysters along with a challenge to our server to make me the perfect Caesar, and OMG!!! This guy, this restaurant, KNOWS how to make one of these National drinks. As I saw him make it in a rushed and insensitive manner, I already knew this was the one I would never forget. After I got my cousin to help me out with the little guys, we ended our meal with a giant bowl of steamed mussels swimming harmoniously as they should be; in a potent smelling white wine, garlic, butter broth that was to die for! Curious about just trying the chowder and their belief it was the best, I could not deny the tasting they offered. I must say (being somewhat of a chowder connoisseur) I have had way better and more east coast authentic chowder here in San Francisco. Nonetheless this place was everything I hoped for. San Francisco oyster lovers, when in Vancouver make sure to check this place out!
As many locals agree when in Vancouver one must stop by Café Medina for breakfast. Located in between Yaletown and Gastown this restaurant offers a unique and artistic breakfast and lunch menu. Being a sucker of the simple and naturally heavy breakfast foods we all know, I was very hesitant to sit at a more upscale bistro type Café to have my first meal of the day. I was told over and over again however, to not miss out on the waffles at this place. I don’t even really care for waffles!! But my cousin, a fancy breakfast bistro type got me there and my careless attitude towards the fluffy patterned suckers changed forever. Made by the order through a window facing the street we ordered a few with four of their most popular toping preferences: dark chocolate, mixed berry compote, raspberry caramel, and of course- maple syrup. To be perfectly honest the waffle itself was so exquisite with vanilla flavors steaming from it that I barely even touched the toppings. Whether you are a waffle lover or not, when in Vancouver, go to Café Medina and try one of these mini delightful goodies. To balance out the limit of my sweet tooth I tried one of their many beautifully plated sausages (The Andoullie) with just the right kick of spice. We ended the meal with 2 of their famous lavender lattes, not my favorite personally, but that’s just because I rarely even put milk in my coffee. If you like milk in your coffee, and want to try something eccentric this is definitely a good pick!
I am not sure if San Francisco is too sincere with its variation of night life options or if Vancouver is a bit shy of them, or maybe its just my custom to being able to find something to do at any hour and anytime of the day in this city. Vancouver however, seems to get a bit sleepy after the sun sets, or so at least that may be something only us San Franciscans may experience while there. Even then however, we managed to ask enough locals about “the thing to do” that night in Vancouver and most people did not hesitate to say “Kill Joy.” So we hopped in a cab and headed to the trendy district of Yaletown to find this place and I immediately felt at home. When entering the top floor of Kill Joy one walks into a dark chamber of local wine on taps, being greeted by a deconstructed piano artfully covering the walls. The rest of the walls are of concrete and brick giving it a rustic and unforgiving look. The bar walls are covered with fetishist prints being lit by arcane neon-accentuated installations. Behind the bar lies a refrigerated installation of hanging artisan meats constantly reminding you of the “killing” phenomenon that had to take place before “enjoying” your meats and cheeses, both local and carefully chosen to pair with the wine selection. Looking at the main entry way you would never believe what lies beneath this floor. The down stairs room is made of Plexiglas installations over the many grafittied concrete walls being lit by black lights and tables which I found to be so modern they felt uninviting, yet I couldn’t help but want to sit and enjoy the experience. Downstairs one can also enjoy the DJ and the great selection of gin-forward cocktail list. Can you imagine this place? So paradoxical in nature, so intriguing, so uninviting, so hidden, a place I look at and call “Soooo San Francisco.” A place with the perfect balance of elements that will keep us coming back.
Heading out of The Keg Steakhouse and Bar (see my previous post) with a sweet tooth on our first night in Vancouver and with the delightful and rare 80 degree weather, we looked for a place with outside seating to enjoy some dessert and wine. We decided to trust our own instincts on this one, and after walking around for about twenty minutes we found a true gem. CinCin Ristorate and Bar is easy to miss. From the street level it has one tiny door with a beautifully lit menu. At the door we where immediately greeted by a set of stairs much like the ones who welcome us into our San Francisco homes. We reached the top and found an elegant lit patio overlooking the streets of busy shoppers. The dessert we picked was absolutely phenomenal, a perfect savory combination being that even as a foodie, my sweet tooth has quick limits.
Pistachio Semifreddo: Lemon curd on Chilled pistachio with a custard citrus topped with vanilla sauce and Sable, paired with two glassed of Mission Hill Reserve, BC Chardonnay.
If you liked this article please checkout my review of The Cactus Club Cafe in Vancouver!
image sources: kevineats.com, cincinristorante.foodpages.ca
When in any great place near a coast with nearby farmlands I seek for a slab of great meat and some seafood. The problem is that Vancouver, just like our city, has a plethora of dining choices. So what did I do? Walking down the streets of down town Vancouver with my cousin (thinking I am crazy for so intrusively inquiring people about where I could find a mouthwatering steak) we walked down the street agreeing that the first restaurant to be named three times was the one we would go to for dinner. This is how we ended up at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. Naturally, we decided to go for the best surf and turf dish they offered. The
atmosphere was everything a steakhouse should be. Dim and elegant, with a very friendly and sophisticated staff, not to mention the manager made sure everything was going well every step
of the way. Here where my favorite dishes.
Spinach Salad-A great start to my meal with a full-bodied glass of red BC wine, of course. This salad is a delicate combination of organic baby spinach with fresh strawberries, dried cranberries. Balancing the sweetness is a hint of red onion and Bleu cheese.
Prime Rib and Lobster– This is everything I could have ever asked for in a Surf and Turf dish. The Prime Rib was slowly roasted to perfection and the Lobster Tail literally melted in my mouth.
I ended this meal so stuffed and sleepy, I asked the bar tender for a shot of espresso. The next thing that occurred was both unexpected and hilarious. The kind bar tender handed me a shot of Da Vinci’s espresso infused vodka. Thinking that he had done this on purpose in belief that on vacation I should wake up not with espresso, but to a shot of vodka, I looked at my cousin shrugged my shoulders and drank it, it was after all very good. Surprisingly enough, this was not the only time during my stay that I was handed vodka instead of espresso. I found it so intriguing and hilarious that I decided to never ask the locals what that was all about. The espresso infused vodka vs. a shot of espresso Canadian confusion will always be a mystery to me.
If you liked this article please checkout my review of The Cactus Club Cafe in Vancouver!
A city much like our San Francisco. Sure, it is a bit cleaner and spacious with less of nightlife than we are used to here in the city, but it sure is a melting pot of tourists, locals, and chefs who are very passionate about food. The people in Vancouver, just like in our magnificent city know just how to eat and drink, and just like us they hate to see a first time tourist like me, wander off into the menus of a potentially disappointing tourist trap. They yearn to share their secret places with us. This was made very clear to me on my food trip there, and this is why I love Vancouver, British Columbia.
Like any time that I can get out of the city and go vacation for a few days my main goal is to understand the life style and culture of my destination through it’s food. This is precisely why I set out to Vancouver with my cousin last month. Vancouver is a city known for its luscious production of local products, culinary adventures, and nearby wineries. Only having three days there, we set out on our mission to try everything we could fit in. Just like anytime I travel, I refrain from desperately searching the Internet for places to eat, for I tend to be somewhat on the skeptical side of these sites. I have always found it much more valuable and to my advantage to just go straight to the source by asking the locals, and trust me, Vancouver welcomed us with open arms. Never have I been to a place where I got to meet so many chefs in such little time, and in which I become overwhelmed with endless amounts of coasters, napkins, and business cards directing me to all of the places locals told me “I just had to try before leaving!” Of course, being there only for three days, I had to make some serious choices. So here I am! Ready to share my Vancouver foodie secrets with you in a Style Bust miniseries! Each article will feature a different venue.
Cactus Club Café
Run by first Canadian Iron Chef Rob Feenie, Cactus Club Café is the NOPA of down town Vancouver. While its architecture and dishes are both modern and elegant, its atmosphere is very inviting as the restaurant’s atmosphere is casual, fun, and loud. It is a place where industry people go for a bite and a few drinks. Being that this was a block away from my hotel it was our first stop upon arrival. I asked the bartender to order my cousin and I two of Feenie’s signature dishes that we enjoyed with two glasses of wine from local wineries. Boy was I utterly in awe with such a tasty welcome!
The Beef Carpaccio
Tenderloin with a thin peppercorn curst, a hint of grainy organic Dijon mustard, pickled shallots, fresh Parmesan all over homemade crostini, topped of with deep fried capers!
The Ravioli Prawn Trio
Cooked to perfection al dente style, this dish was covered lightly in a rich and savory butternut squash with local sautéed jumbo prawns. It was to die for! This dish was just the right combination of sweet and salty with a bold and pronounced richness, it is no wonder they only serve three of them per order.
Prospect Winery, British Columbia Sauvignon Blanc 2010- this delicate wine was dry and refreshing with a clean finish. It had hints of grassiness and tropical fruits, which paired well with the Ravioli Prawn Trio.
Cedarcreek Cabernet Merlot-2007-this oaky wine has a lingering texture with hints of vanilla and concentrated fruits. It was smooth with light hints of tannin, which went well with the Beef Carpaccio
After really enjoying our time there, we came back to The Cactus Club Cafe the next afternoon (as we had promised the bar tender) to have a few of their signature cocktails. While they where fantastic in terms of concept, they where certainly shy on the amount of liquor that we are used to here in the city. However, I was here to try one specific drink, which I was told over and over again I could not leave without trying. So what is the drink of BC that everyone is talking about? It’s called a Caesar. What I soon found to be in my opinion a much tastier version of our bloody Marry. What is the secret ingredient? Clamato Juice, a little less shyness on the horseradish, topped with the eccentric combination of fresh mozzarella cheese, borettane onion, bocconcini, and a Peruvian pepper. WOW!!! No wonder Canada has an annual festival devoted to this drink, naming it the drink of the nation. After a few of those signature drinks, we set out not only to eat more, but I made it my goal to find my favorite Caesar in Vancouver, being that they all claim to make the best.
If you liked this article please checkout my review of The Keg Steakhouse and Bar in Vancouver!
image sources: ariellafong.com, Drink-twylah.com, Ravioli-Cactusclubcafe.com, view-beautynotbull.com