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Archive for the ‘Special Occasion’ Category

It’s Chinese New Year (CNY) a couple of weeks ago, and us Chinese know how to celebrate — eat, feast, and repeat. Of course, there are many regional Chinese New Year traditions throughout China, and being from HK, the HK tradition is what I’m most familiar with. On New Year’s Eve I was invited to a feast with food expert Lee Man, and it just heightened my appreciation for my culture.

Calling it a feast, obviously it was a multi-course dinner with an abundance of food. We are all about good meanings 意頭 when it comes to choosing the dishes or even naming them for CNY. On Instagram I showed a glimpse of what that means with the CNY dinner made by Mama Lam this year. It’s being realized here once again at Golden Paramount in Richmond.

Food

“Togetherness” is one of the main reasons for CNY celebrations so families often take the opportunity to gather together and dine out during CNY. For that, the restaurant was hustling and bustling and it’s just full of energy! It was a late dinner for us (7:45pm start) and the room was still full and more were being seated as our dinner progressed. And here’s our menu, some background about them, and what they symbolize:
Pan Fried Oysters – Oysters are a homonym for “good”, indicating good luck for the upcoming year. Traditionally we eat dried oysters because it means “good business” 好市 but it does have a more distinctive fishy taste to it and not everyone likes it. This was a Chinese Restaurant Award winner.

Pan Fried Oysters
Pepah Tofu – Fried food is usually in a golden colour so it symbolizes gold and fortune. The tofu here is shaped into a Chinese lute, Pipa. Fun fact: I learned to play the Pipa when I was in middle school in HK. Not easy to master but it was fun to play. This was later extended to my involvement with the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.

Pepah Tofu
Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup – At a CNY feast you would want to serve some luxurious items.

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Are you looking for gift ideas for your dearest? Or dining options on this special day? Here are some ideas:

Dining

  • Atlas Steak + Fish – $75 or $95 per person for a 4-course dinner
  • Au Comptoir – $80 per person for a 4-course dinner
  • Bacchus Restaurant – $130 per person for a 5-course dinner
  • Boathouse Restaurant – $49 or $59 per person for a 3-course dinner
  • Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar – $110 per person a 5-course dinner
  • Cardero’sA la carte menu
  • Chop Restaurant – $49 per person for a 3-course dinner, Feb 9-14
  • CIBO Trattoria – $68 per person for a 4-course dinner, including Albacore Tuna or Smoked & Slow-Roasted Pork Belly, Heart-Shaped Ravioli for Two, Butter-Poached Black Cod, Pan-Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Tiramisu and Blackberry White Chocolate Semifreddo
  • Federico’s – $100 per person for a 4-course dinner, with live music and dancing

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Last Christmas holiday, Mr. and I went to the Lights of Christmas in the US. Yes, it’s the largest in Pacific Northwest, but there’s a holiday light display right in our backyard. Best of all, it’s free — the Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam.

The event just ended last weekend. Did you catch it before it ended? If not, let me share some pictures for you:

Lights at Lafarge 2017

Lights at Lafarge 2017 Lights at Lafarge 2017

Lights at Lafarge 2017

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To celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary, we went to Honey Salt at the Parq Vancouver for dinner. Since its opening, I’ve been seeing photos on Instagram and I’ve been curious about it. Finally our turn to check it out.

Honey Salt Vancouver

So it’s our first time at the restaurant AND the casino. Everything looks shiny new to us. The restaurant interior is quite cute. It reminded me of a modern cottage kitchen/nook, with cupboards and shelves, hanging lights, and a lot of white and green. I quite like the style.

Honey Salt Vancouver Honey Salt Vancouver

Food

The four of us shared a few appetizers. First, the Tofino Fry. Fried calamari and side stripe shrimps on one plate. The batter was thin, outside was crunchy, and the meat was tender. The Japanese mayo dipping sauce had some subtle heat; in my opinion the heat could be dialed up a bit. What surprised me was the few slices of fried lemon. Perhaps the batter took away some of the acidity, so it wasn’t face-puckering sour. The citrus flavour worked well with the seafood.

Tofino Fry

The Crisped Bacon Brussels is listed under Sides, and it’s in small print, so make sure you don’t miss it.

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[Editor’s Note: This giveaway is now closed. Winner has been chosen and contacted. Thank you for entering.]

When I say “hotel breakfast”, what comes to mind? I would think of a la carte standard affairs, or varied quality of “continental breakfast” from 2-3 star hotels.

We are lucky in Vancouver in a sense that there are many hotels offering delicious, not your typical breakfast/brunch options, e.g. Tableau, Mosaic, Yew, Blvd. Enter the new player, H2 Rotisserie & Bar at Westin Bayshore, which offers a weekend brunch buffet.

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

Brunch Buffet at H2 Rotisserie & Bar

I was invited to sample H2’s brunch buffet and wow, it was a big spread. It certainly has the typical brunch items such as eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon and sausages. But what caught my eyes were the following:

Rotisserie chicken carving station – H2 prides itself for its rotisserie chicken so I wasn’t surprised to see it at brunch. Walk up to the chef on duty and they will get you a slice (or two) of white and/or dark meat.

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

Dim sum/congee station – it serves up har gow (shrimp dumplings), siu mai (pork dumplings), BBQ pork buns, and sticky rice. Oh you can also build your own congee bowl, but it’s located in a different section of the buffet line.

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch BuffetH2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch BuffetH2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

Made to order french toast station – they literally soaked the bread in the yummy custard, heat up the pan with some butter, and made me my French toast right in front of me.

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[Editor’s Note: Sorry we took a writing break, but it’s good to be back!]

When I was contacted by our friends at Ford Canada that I’d have a Ford Focus for a week, the hopeful boy racer in Mr. asked, “is it an ST? Is it a hatchback?”

As it turns out, it was neither. It was a fully loaded (Titanium) sedan with a pretty blue paint job.

Ford Focus Titanium 2017

It also happened to be the same week as we threw a surprise birthday weekend in Whistler for CL, one of Mr.‘s close friends. So we gave the Focus a thorough test on a 36-hour trip.

Ford Focus Titanium 2017

36 Hours in Whistler

We kicked off the weekend at Stonesedge Kitchen, where we surprised CL with a birthday brunch.

Stonesedge Kitchen Whistler

There were 6 of us – and there were 5 orders of Breakfast Poutine. Except for me, the adventurous one. I ordered the Woodsman’s Bowl, with pulled venison and roasted butternut squash. Let me just say, I was happy with my choice. There was a good combination of flavours and texture. The slightly gamey venison made the dish more interesting than the maple sausage in the Breakfast Poutine.

Breakfast Poutine, Stonesedge Kitchen WhistlerWoodsman's Bowl, Stonesedge Kitchen Whistler

Then, a stopover at Whistler Brewing.

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This holiday season we’ve had a few home-cooked meals, and we took the opportunity to make some new dishes. One of which we made, and we fell in love with, was cured salmon.

We followed a recipe from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network website. The preparation is essentially the same but we modified the list of ingredients based on our size of fillet and what we had in our pantry. The result was amazing.

Vodka Citrus Cured Salmon

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