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Peter is back for another guest post! If you don’t remember him, he’s a friend of mine from Toronto. I met him while he’s working in Vancouver, but he’s moved back home since. Recently he returned for a short visit, and made around town for some sushi:

Now that I no longer live on the West Coast, people always ask me what the number one thing is that I miss about Vancouver. And my answer is always: sushi!

So when I returned to Vancouver for a week-long visit this summer, naturally I spent a great deal of time hitting up all my favourite sushi spots.

Sushi King House

First stop on the tour was Sushi King House in the Granville-Marpole area. This was a favourite years ago, and due to its proximity to our hotel, it was a great choice for our first meal of the day. As the name may suggest, Sushi King’s claim to fame is its larger-than-average nigiri (had to eat it in two-bites!), maki, and cones. The must-order here is the chopped scallop (roll or cone). Definitely one of my favourite rolls, and this was the best I’ve had all week – cold, crisp, clean-tasting scallops lightly dressed with mayo and tobiko. And the rice was perfect too. Sushi King is also one of my favourite places to order toro. Beautiful slices of albacore tuna belly. Melt in your mouth, and very clean tasting. The first bite instantly had me contemplating a move back to Vancouver. This is an extremely casual, little gem of a restaurant. And the friendly service will keep you coming back – our server still recognized us (after four years!) and asked us why we haven’t been back in so long. We returned two more times that week!

Sushi King House

8176 Granville Street, Vancouver
sushikinghouse.com

Sushi King House on Urbanspoon

Bay Sushi Cafe

Later that afternoon we headed downtown to Bay Sushi Cafe. Known as “Sushi Bay” to its many regulars, this is a busy, casual, lunch-time spot located on Seymour Street, directly across from Hudson’s Bay. The winner here is the spicy tuna roll – made with avocado, a small amount of tenkasu (tempura bits), and I swear I tasted a hint of gochujang (Korean chili paste) in the mix. It’s by far my favourite spicy tuna in the city. The chopped scallop is also great here, and their salmon and tuna nigiri are consistently good. Mainly a lunch-time spot, Bay Sushi Cafe closes early at 7pm each day and is closed on Sundays. (And yes, we returned just before closing that night to get a second round of sushi to go!)

Bay Sushi Cafe

678 Seymour Street, Vancouver
baysushicafe.com

Bay Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar

This was a new one for me. Having never been to Commercial Drive, my friend offered to take me to his favourite (and what looks to be the busiest) sushi place on the Drive. We headed out for lunch on the day of the World Cup final, and despite the lack of a TV, Kishimoto was packed. (more…)

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Please say hello to our guest writer Peter, a friend of mine from Toronto. He has been promising me a post about the Turducken he made over Christmas. Finally here it is – perfect for Easter! It’s a simpler version than the traditional form, so give it a shot if you want to wow your guests at your next party.

Recipe: The Turducken Simplified

Traditionally a turducken consists of a fully deboned turkey, stuffed with a deboned duck that is stuffed with a deboned chicken. The entire thing is roasted and a rather over-the-top meal of bird-within-a-bird-within-a-bird is the delicious result. Of course, finding and assembling such an item for your dinner can be costly and/or a helluva lot of work. But equally tasty results can be had with a bit of simplification.

This idea began to take shape on or around December 23rd, when the phrase “let’s have turducken for Christmas” suddenly became popular in my family. Not wanting to spend an entire day of my holidays deboning and not able to find a suitable ready-to-cook turducken at the eleventh hour in local grocery stores, we decided on the following simplification:

  • 2 turkey breasts
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Plus pork sausage meat for stuffing and bacon to wrap

The end result was amazing and provided more than enough turducken for a family dinner for five people. And it was much easier to make!

Turducken - Sliced

Turducken - Sliced

Step 1 – Prepare poultry pieces

Ideally, you should be able to find boneless turkey and duck breasts and chicken thighs ready to go in the grocery store. If not, it is still considerably less work to debone a few breasts and thighs then three entire birds. At this point you will also need to butterfly the pieces. You’ll end up with thinner, wider pieces of meat that will roll up more easily as well as result in a better shaped turducken. (more…)

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I recently went on a business trip to Toronto for about a week. Despite being the third time, I hadn’t really had a chance to appreciate the culinary scene in Toronto. This time, my friend and I went and explored bits and pieces of the city. Here, I am reporting back.

The city features numerous celebrity chefs – Lynn Crawford, Mark McEwan, Brad Long, David Lee, and Susur Lee, just to name a few. My expectation was naturally a little high. But, my experience, which ranged from the (somewhat) high-end to the low-end, was rather mixed. Food photography doesn’t seem as welcomed it is the case here. At least I didn’t see any diners taking photos of food (shocking, I know, by Vancouver standard). Below are my thoughts on the restaurants that I went to. Unfortunately, no photos included.

Nota Bene

Nota Bene is the first stop of my “tour”. Upon checking myself into the hotel downtown, I went through the tourist magazines. Nota Bene seemed promising, and it was recommended to me by a co-worker. My friend and I made an 8pm reservation (the earliest available at 6pm – busy for a Thursday night). Both from the ambiance and the staff, the restaurant gives out a sense of class. The space itself is grant and gorgeous. The service was however just the opposite… bad, I would say. The waiter was missing for a while before taking our drink orders, and no one checked on us during the dinner. Our neighbouring tables suffered the same as well. The staff were professional in their attitude but flat in the delivery of it. The cocktails were very good. Food wise, the appetizer (“Rare” Albacore Tuna) was mediocre  – “the tuna seemed dead for a long time” were the words of my friend’s. The mains were definitely better but not exceptional. My friend’s Papardelle Pasta, Rabbit Soffrito was rather flavourful and satisfying. My Roast Pork with Apple Sauerkraut probably consisted of a quarter of a cabbage – the pork was moist and delicious. The saving grace was that the dinner did end in a high note with the desserts. Sticky Toffee Pudding and Pistachio Olive Oil Cake were both just delicious – they hit all the right notes for us. All in all, it’s not a cheap place, and I expected more for the dollars that I spent there. Next time, maybe I will just come back for drinks and desserts. Notes: must be able to tolerate loud business people; reservation is highly recommended.

Le Gourmand

My friend bought me to Le Gourmand for a quick lunch. It felt like Vancouver in there – great coffee, awesome pastry, and laid-back patrons. Upon entering, I like the cafe for its retro decor. (more…)

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Mr., Frank and I would like to wish all of you a very happy holiday season. We hope you will enjoy lots of juicy birds, yummy meals and tasty treats.

Thank you all for the support this past year. We’re taking a break for Christmas and New Year. We’ll see you in 2011.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Cheers,
Joyce

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As mentioned in our previous posts, Edible BC offers an exciting series of events called “Cooking with BC’s Best Guest Chefs”. Joyce and I (Frank) have been to the one with Chef Lee Parson from Bacchus Restaurant. The folks at Edible BC has just released the 2011 schedule. Below is a brief list. For more information about each dinner, please visit Edible BC’s website. Hope you will give the event a try and enjoy it as we have.

  • January 19 – Kitsilano Daily Kitchen – Chef Brian Fowke
  • February 10 – Wendy Boys Chocolates – Chef Wendy Boys
  • February 25 – Whisky Dinner with Cask Strength & Chef Eric Pateman
  • March 8 – CinCin – Chef Todd Howard
  • March 25 – Whisky Dinner with Cask Strength & Chef Eric Pateman
  • March 29 – Wild Apple Restaurant – Chef Bernard Cassavant
  • April 4 – Joy Road Catering – Chefs Cameron Smith & Dana Ewart
  • April 26 – West Restaurant – Chef David Gunawan
  • May 11 – YEW Restaurant + Bar – Chef Oliver Beckert
  • May 25 – Deerholme Farm – Chef Bill Jones
  • June 5 – Locals Restaurant – Chef Ronald St. Pierre
  • June 14 – Apprenticeship Dinner – Chef Eric Pateman
  • June 21 – Raincity Grill – Chef Jennifer Peters
  • July 9 – Sustainable Seafood Dinner – Eric Pateman
  • July 19 – Nu Restaurant + Lounge – Chef Dan Creyke
  • July 26 – Bacchus Restaurant – Chef Lee Parsons
  • August 6 – Whisky Dinner with Cask Strength & Chef Eric Pateman
  • August 16 – Raw Food Feast – Chef Afke Zonderland
  • September 13 – Wild Rice – Chef Todd Bright
  • September 20 – Diva at the Met – Chef Quang Dang
  • September 27 – C Restaurant – Chef Lee Humphries
  • October 4 – Refuel and Campagnolo – Chef Robert Belcham
  • October 11 – Vij’s & Rangoli – Chef Vikram Vij (Tickets by Lottery Only)
  • October 27 – Watermark Wine Bar – Chef Natasha Schooten
  • November 7 – Araxi Restaurant – Chef James Walt
  • November 18 – Whisky Dinner with Cask Strength & Chef Eric Pateman
  • November 23 – Apprenticeship Dinner – Chef Eric Pateman
  • December 6 – Holiday Entertaining Dinner

Event Details

Market Dinners are $90 per person plus HST & gratuity.
Whisky Dinners are $130 per person, plus HST & gratuity
Time: 7:45pm – 11pm
Minimum/Maximum Group Size: 14 / 20
Location: At the Edible BC Retail Store, located on the east wall of the Public Market (dinners will move to our new Granville Island location when construction is complete)

To find out more about what Edible BC has to offer, visit its website at www.edible-britishcolumbia.com.

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The dinner is part of a program organized by Edible BC called Cooking with BC’s Best Market Dinner. At each dinner, a renowned local chef would display his or her culinary skills and inspirations. First booked in February this year, we finally got to savour the dishes that we have been yearning for over the last six months. The chef for dinner was Lee Parsons, the executive chef at Bacchus Restaurant in the Wedgewood Hotel.

Present were Jonathan, Sherman, Mijune, Anita, and Joyce and I. The cool part of the dinner – other than having a well known chef cooking for you – is that the event was inside the after-hours Granville Public Market. The table of 20 was situated between the Stock Market and Edible BC’s retail store. On the table welcoming us were bread from La Baguette and a lovely dish of spot-prawn olive oil and balsamic vinegar (aged in a pinot noir wine barrel). Cooking out of a make-shift kitchen at the Edible BC store were Chef Parsons and his sous chef Vincent. There were literally two induction burners and one small convection oven.

The five-course tasting menu consisted of the following dishes and wine pairings:

First Course/Amuse Bouche: Chilled Essence of Vine Ripened Tomato

(Pemberton Distillery Schramm Vodka Summer Cocktail)

(more…)

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For the first time on VanFoodies.com, all three writers have joined forces to provide you with a full scope of the Dine Out dinner at Diva at the Met. None of us has ever been there before, but we have heard good things about the restaurant. Intrigued by all the praises it receives, despite the recent personnel change in the kitchen (Quang Dang replaced Dino Renaerts as the Executive Chef), I personally was hoping for a treat.

Food

Let us each share our thoughts on the menu. We may have the same dishes but we certainly have different views on them.

Joyce: Roasted Beet and Potato Veloute + Braised Lamb Cheeks + Stilton Cheesecake

Being the black sheep at the table, I was the only one ordering the veloute. The Roasted Beet and Potato Veloute came in a saucer, of which the server poured into a bowl with the dill crème fraiche and croutons – I really liked this extra touch and reminded me of the Dine Out I had at C Restaurant a couple of years ago.

Pouring the Veloute

Pouring the Veloute

The soup was very creamy, with hints of sweetness from the beet, but not too rich. (more…)

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