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Archive for the ‘Special Occasion’ Category

I cannot believe Christmas is only a couple weeks away! I, for one, was shocked by how quickly the year flew by and was not prepared for Christmas at all. Luckily, many Christmas festivities have popped up across Lower Mainland to help getting into a festive mood.

Of course, the iconic Vancouver Christmas Market has returned for its 10th year. I still remember when it was back at Queen Elizabeth Plaza and how much it’s grown since. Same as the last few years, the Christmas Market can be found at the Jack Poole Plaza. I was invited to its media event and have returned a couple of times since. Here are some food and shopping suggestions for you.

Food

Obviously there are some must-haves at the Christmas Market but they have new vendors this year too. Here are some highlights.

Mulled Wine

You can’t go to the Christmas Market without a cup of mulled wine (Gluhwein) to warm your cockles.

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Mr. and I recently went on a 10-day road trip to the States. Kicking it off was a celebration of our 4th wedding anniversary and we spent a night at the quaint Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington. Lummi Island is a small island just a 10-minute ferry ride southwest of Bellingham.

The upscale inn deserves a separate post but the highlight of the evening was definitely our dinner at the restaurant. It serves up a 21-course tasting menu every evening, yes 21 courses, that changes regularly and seasonally. It features locally grown produce and other locally fished, foraged and farmed products. And in addition to their kitchen, they also have an outdoor wood-fired BBQ and smoker.

Obviously, with 21 courses this is not your everyday dinner out. The menu costs $225 per person with optional wine pairing for an additional $150 per person. You also don’t know what’s on the menu as they rotate it often. You only receive a copy of the menu at the end of your meal. So you ask, was it worth it?

Without further ado, let us indulge you with a feast for your eyes.

Food

Toasted kale leave, local black truffle, crumbled rye on top — elevated kale chip with the fragrance of truffle and extra crunch from the rye crumble

Wild rainier cherry in nasturtium leaf, wild chamomile, elderflower essence — what an interesting bite. Enjoyed the crisp sweetness of rainier cherry against the herbaceous chamomile and nasturtium. The elderflower essence was made into a little dollop of jelly that combined everything.

Sugar snap peas from their garden, pureed and combined with cream then it’s piped back in the pod — It’s like crudites in a fancy bite. You can taste the freshness of the sugar snap peas. (more…)

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For Mother’s Day, I took Mama Lam to afternoon tea at Origo Club. They offered a special menu for the weekend, but surprisingly, it was at its regular price of $45 per person. Good on them for not raising the price on this special day because many places do. The number of items was the same as usual but with a different line-up of desserts.

Afternoon Tea at Origo Club

Food

Here is what we had for savoury items (starting from the left):

Savoury Items, Afternoon Tea at Origo Club

Tarte aux Épinards – tart shell, spinach, coppa, gruyère, egg. One of my favourite items in the line-up. The tart shell was buttery and there was a lot of spinach in the filling. The filling was well-seasoned too.

Canard à l’Orange – seared duck breast, orange coulis & segments. Another fave of mine. The duck breast was tender, smokey. I wish there were more pieces of this.

Chou au Foie Gras et à la Truffe – choux pastry, duck foie gras & truffle mousse. (more…)

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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

  • Bacchus Restaurant – $135 per person 4-course dinner plus amuse bouche
  • Black + Blue – $85 per person for a 3-course dinner
  • Boathouse Restaurants – $55 or $65 for a 3-course dinner
  • Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar – $120 per person for a 4-course dinner plus amuse bouche and petits fours
  • Burdock & Co – $80 per person for a multi-course dinner. Only two seatings available with 34 seats each: 5:30/6pm and 8/8:30pm
  • C|Prime – $45 per person for a 3-course dinner
  • Cardero’s – a la carte 3-course menu
  • CIBO Trattoria – $68 per person for a 4-course dinner. You can also order this menu a la carte.
  • CinCin – $85 per person for a 4-course dinner
  • Crowbar – $200 per couple for 32 oz organic dry-aged ribeye steak cooked to order, served alongside freshly baked bread, feature pasta and two sides, all capped off by a sinfully decadent dessert. Only 14 sets available.
  • Dockside Restaurant – $75 per person for a 4-course dinner
  • Federico’s – $100 per person for a 4-course dinner, with live music and dancing

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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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