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Archive for the ‘Delivery’ Category

While we are working towards establishing some new normalcy, it is still important to remain vigilant and stay safe. Most restaurants are open for dine-in again now, but some of us may still prefer to eat in the comfort of their own home. Therefore, this Thanksgiving, some local restaurants continue to offer a to-go option so we can celebrate with friends and family safely at home. Here is my round-up. I will continue to update this list as restaurants continue to promote their offering.

And make sure to check the order details for each one to not miss out!

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Being Chinese, we celebrate Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節 every year. It is always on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, promising the roundest, fullest full moon of the year. Part of the tradition is to eat mooncakes月餅, a baked pastry with fillings. The most popular versions we used to get in HK are with lotus seed paste or mixed nuts filling, plus salted egg yolk(s). Over the years, mooncakes have evolved. Bakeries have introduced other flavours of fillings such as red bean and lava custard; and some places sell a version called “snow skin” where the exterior is not baked and is made with glutinous rice flour.

Origin of Mooncakes

Do you know the origin of mooncakes? The one version that is forever stuck in my head is that it was created by rebellions in the Yuan Dynasty, who hid secret messages inside baked pastries, and distributed them to plan a revolt to overthrow the ruling Mongols, leading to the fall of Yuan and the rise of Ming Dynasty.

Buying Mooncakes in Vancouver

This year, Mid Autumn Festival lands on September 21, 2021. If you are interested in making your own mooncakes, check out Mama Lam’s recipe for Baked Chinese Mooncake with Salted Egg Yolk Custard Filling that I shared last year. Otherwise, if you are looking to support local businesses and buy some at a store, here are some ideas for you.

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On one of the hottest days this summer, with the low hum of an espresso machine in the background, a tanned Italian man named Mario spoke animatedly. This was the setting that transported us to a cafe in Milan as we sipped espresso and discussed Italian style coffee at the Umbria Coffee Roasters’ warehouse in South Vancouver.

With passion and flair, Mario impressed upon us the Italian coffee culture that Umbria represents: an unpretentious experience that simply allows one to enjoy a cup of good quality coffee. He and his colleague Ricardo explained the importance of consistency and balance in the beans, and the science and art behind making a great cup of espresso — the correct ground, the perfect water temperature, the well-timed brew. In addition, the amount of effort their master roaster puts in to blend different beans from across the globe is shockingly similar to what a winemaker does to achieve consistent quality of wine year after year. Mr. and I tasted a variety of their coffee, learned about the philosophy of roasting Italian style coffee, and even had a chance to play barista with their commercial espresso machine.

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Goat curry, fiddlehead Chinese sausage stir-fry, sea asparagus & broccoli microgreens salad, and goat milk yogurt with mint, dried date, pistachio and honey…how’s that for a dinner menu?!

This menu was made possible with an interesting selection of products available at directfood.store, an online grocery platform that provides a digital marketplace for local farms. I recently ordered a delivery, complimentary of the company, and I was intrigued by what they offer. We found unique ingredients such as goat meat, sea asparagus, fiddleheads (no longer available), broccoli microgreens, goat milk yogurt and dried chanterelle. These are not something I see at grocery stores everyday. My shopping list came to be about $50 and they were gathered for our delivery directly from local farms/food producers. There’s no fancy packaging – product(s) from each company was packed separately so we received an assortment of bags and boxes in one delivery.

What We Made

With the ingredients we purchased, here is what we made.

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For the last couple of years, the dynamics of Vancouver’s restaurant sector have shifted. More commissary kitchens have opened, some restaurateurs have closed their brick and mortar to switch to a ghost kitchen concept, some aspired restaurateurs and bakers are testing the water without a brick and mortar. It’s relatively lower-cost to run a restaurant operation without the investment of a physical location with equipment, tables & chairs, dishware and decorations, and everything else. It’s especially appealing during the COVID-19 crisis now when a majority of business comes from take-out or delivery orders.

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Coho Commissary

Earlier in the year, Takenaka opened its door, figuratively speaking, by offering different types of Japanese bento boxes. It operates in one of the Coho Commissary locations in Vancouver. Their concept is inspired by the traditional bento boxes created by mom, while introducing a more artistic approach and bringing in fresh and interesting ingredients. The owner/chef Shogo Takenaka came from Kingyo Izakaya and its sister restaurant Raisu. Sous-chef Daiki Ishikawa was trained in Niigata prefecture, known for its finest quality in rice, sake and seafood. I was provided a few of their menu items for a tasting.

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Food

Among the items I received, right away my eyes were drawn to the Kaiseki Bento.

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