Tag Archives: Vancouver

Photo Visit – L’Abattoir – May 2014

1 May

217 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2J2

T: 604 568 1701
www.labattoir.ca

Brief Description: A chic, unpretentious Gastown restaurant that dishes up French-meets-West Coast cuisine.

I have just gotten back from another wonderful dinner at L’Abattoir and I felt I had to share what a remarkable experience it was…again. Is it just me, or is this place underrated? Although there is a slight buzz about it, I expect to hear a lot more about a restaurant that is producing such impressive food and cocktails. For all the details on L’Abattoir you can read my post from a few years ago. This post is more to show you the beauty of the food (look at that presentation!) and to mention (again) how truly great it was.

Gastown Swizzle – $11

Complimentary bread basket

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Ceps (porcini) with pork belly and jus gras – $30

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Roast filet of Pacific Halibut with pasta of Dungeness crab and pork, asparagus – $33

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Steak Diane with charred onions, potato fondant, peppercorn – $33

Brown butter clafoutis with poached rhubarb and rhubarb sorbet – $9

The appetizer special was unbelievably good, with succulent, firm ceps (porcini mushrooms) and tender pork belly finished with a luscious foie gras jus. Both mains were plated beautifully with flavours that were perfectly balanced. The dessert was also a treat, although by this stage, we were too full to fully appreciate (but my god, is it beautiful!).

I have to ask myself why I don’t go there more often and the only valid reason I could think of is the cost. The prices are on the high-side (although, the value is there) so it is more of a once-in-awhile kinda place, or a special occasion place for me and my budget.

Photo Visit – Ask For Luigi – April 2014

26 Apr

305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1C4

T: 604 428 2544
www.askforluigi.com

I have only been to Ask for Luigi twice but it is fast climbing up my list of favourite restaurants in the city. Ask For Luigi is brought to us by the same folks that run Pourhouse and Pizzeria Farina (another favourite of mine). Ask for Luigi is Italian all the way, with a focus on house-made, fresh pasta dishes. Sharing is recommended and the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. The space is a cute one with an open concept kitchen and a small and intimate dining room.

In the same way that my other local favourite Nook impresses, Luigi delivers simple, well-prepared food at a reasonable price. Dishes on the dinner menu are all under $20 and for lunch and brunch, all dishes are under $16. The coffee is impressive too, which makes it a rarity (good food paired with good coffee). If you’d prefer alcohol beer, wine, and prosecco (yes!) is offered by the glass for $6, or choose wine by the bottle.

With good food and limited seating, Ask for Luigi is busy. Be aware that it is unlikely that you will be seated immediately. On the two occasions that we’ve been during the day we have been fortunate to get a table immediately but that doesn’t seem to be the norm. I’ve been on a Wednesday night at 8pm and have been told the wait is over 45 minutes, so be prepared. But once you are in, sit back, and enjoy the experience.

Exterior
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Pork belly with a fried egg, salsa verde and creamy polenta - $15

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Tagliatelle alla carbonara with a poached egg - $16

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Fingerling potatoes cooked in duck fat – $4

Risotto with pancetta, peas, and asparagus – $15

Ask for Luigi on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Nicli Antica Pizzeria – March 2014

2 Apr

62 East Cordova
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1K3

T: 604 669 6985
www.nicli-antica-pizzeria.ca

For some reason I’ve been having major pizza cravings lately (perhaps stemming from our Italian trip in October) and, with Nicli being one of my favourite pizza places in the city, I made it a point to return twice in March to get my much-needed fix. My sister and I were able to get a table on a Wednesday evening at about 8pm without any hassle but if you want to be assured that you won’t have to wait in-line at all, try a lunch time on the weekend – I was recently back for lunch with B on a Saturday and we walked straight in. Alternatively, you can join their wait-list by using the no-wait app.

Although I hadn’t been to Nicli in a while, they are still turning out great food in a modern space. My only complaint is that they won’t cut the pizza for you (I asked) and so it can be a bit of a struggle to cut your pizza on the slippery white plates.

Daily Special: Prosciutto, jalapenos, arugula

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Afternoon Tea with Beta 5 Chocolates

22 Mar

413 Industrial Ave
Vancouver, BC
V6A 2P8

T: 604 669 3336
www.beta5chocolates.com

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from Beta 5 Chocolates announcing that they would be hosting a limited-seating afternoon tea. I jumped at the chance to attend because, if you didn’t already know, Beta 5 is one of the top chocolatiers in the city and they don’t host afternoon tea regularly (I was told the last time they held one was Mother’s Day 2013). I made it my mission to secure tickets to the event, which was held today, so that I could see how a chocolatier approaches afternoon tea.

Beta 5’s space is an industrial, yet contemporary, warehouse in a somewhat secluded part of town. After a quick walk-through their working kitchens, we were taken upstairs to a space that was elegantly decorated with ambient lighting, beautiful flowers, and stacks of cook books.

The setting for afternoon tea.

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Beta 5 showcased their modern approach to afternoon tea with an absence of traditional scones and mini-sandwiches, and instead we were given “An Afternoon in New Orleans”. On the menu was brioche with yuzu marmalade, a pecan pie cream puff, a café au lait beignet, bananas foster ice cream sandwich, and two tiny lemon tea cakes, all served with your choice of tea from a selection of four different teas. After we had finished this part of the tea, we were served a small tray of chocolates (some praline pecans and a cocoa nib truffle), although we were so full by this stage we took them home with us.

Tea and flowers…how delightful.

The selection for afternoon tea.

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Chocolates to finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed our experience and, although the menu wasn’t what I would associate with traditional afternoon tea, I liked it. I prefer when the choice is taken away and you are able to experience different tastes and flavours that you might not typically order (I have a tendency to stick with what I know). I had been told that the afternoon teas were likely to be happening more regularly so I’m looking forward to returning and sampling their other afternoon tea menus. Tickets were $25 and I booked them through the store.

Photo Visit – Nook Kitsilano – March 2014

16 Mar

1525 Yew Street
Vancouver, BC
V6K 3E4

T: 604 734 3381
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Since becoming home-owners late last year, we have been trying to save a few pennies by foregoing our usual weekend brunches out. Unfortunately, habits are hard to break and we’ve found ourselves returning to our brunching ways. I have found myself brunching at Nook Kitsilano the past three weekends in a row. I could pretend to be shameful right now but the brunch is so good that I hold my head high. Nook is, without a doubt, the restaurant that I find myself at the most. I’ve talked about my love for Nook on this blog numerous times and so it comes as no surprise that I would also enjoy their brunch offerings.

A typical breakfast diner this is not (head up the street to Abigail’s if that is what you are after) but you will find Italian-influenced skillet dishes, pizza, and these two dishes; the baby Dutch pancake (almost like a sweet Yorkshire pudding) and the Italian breakfast (a plate of Italian meats and cheeses). Be warned: the Italian breakfast is like a hot girl that walked into a room – heads turn when this dish gets delivered to your table. I’ve had other diners stare at my ordered brunch of Italian breakfast and ask “What is that?!” and then proceed to order it. It is a meaty start to the day and only $14.

Besides hearty breakfast dishes, the coffee is also quite good meaning that this is a one-stop shop – no need to get a caffeine hit before, or after, brunch.

The Baby Dutch Pancake

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The Italian Breakfast

Brunch special: lentils with lamb sausage ragu and poached eggs

Brunch special: guanciale, spinach, egg, and parmesan pizza

Photo Visit – Tableau Brunch

19 Feb

1181 Melville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6E 0A3

T: 604 639 8692
www.tableaubarbistro.com

B and I had a pretty incredible (and busy) 2013; we both got new jobs, we spent the summer exploring and having fun, I (finally) became a Permanent Resident of Canada, we travelled to Italy and Paris, and we became home-owners and embarked on some minor renovations/major home improvements. The second half of 2013 was exciting, fun, and damn chaotic. By the time the new year came around, I was simply exhausted which is why I’ve not been very active on this blog. I just needed time to chill. I just wanted to enjoy a meal without feeling like I should be photographing the dish and writing about it. I wanted to take some time to lay on the couch and read. Watch some Homeland. Decorate my place. Do a whole lotta nothing. And that is what I did.

I’m now only starting to feel like coming up for air and so I have a lot of blog posts to catch up on…like this post from a visit we had to Tableau Bar & Bistro in November. You know how much I enjoy going out for brunch (I’ve mentioned it a gazillion times) so one of the things that we missed whilst travelling was a long, lazy brunch.

Tableau is a cute French-inspired restaurant in the Loden Hotel in Coal Harbour. Overall, the food is good and they have a brunch menu that has some less-common brunch options, which is refreshing. Most of the dishes below are from their changing daily brunch menu and most of the times that I’ve visited, I’ve typically ordered only from the daily specials as they always sound so tempting. Leave the diet at the door; a place that serves breakfast poutine, buttermilk French toast, or chicken and waffles for brunch is not somewhere for those with limited will-power. The one complaint that I have about Tableau is that they are only open for weekend brunch on Sundays, so don’t plan on brunch at Tableau on Saturdays.

Brunch Special: Breakfast Poutine

Brunch Special: Veal Scallopine and Fried Egg

Shaved Brisket Eggs Benedict

Tableau Bar Bistro on Urbanspoon

Vancouver International Wine Festival

11 Feb

My first experience at the Vancouver International Wine Festival was not a good one. I attended with my sister, years ago, and I can pretty much sum it up with a warning – “Eat before you go”. My memories of the night are very hazy but I did remember enough to go on a month-long detox after attending. It took some time before I could drink white wine again without feeling nauseous. Yeah…it was that kinda night. A classy wine connoisseur it would seem I was not.

Times have changed, I hope, and I am feeling that I can pace myself enough to return to the Wine Festival this month. I am more excited by this year’s festival than previous years because this year they are showcasing France as the theme country and bubbles as the focus. My dreams have come true! As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I LOVE bubbles!! A lot of people save bubbles for special occasions but I’m one of the odd few that actually enjoys drinking it whenever I get a chance.

When I found out that the wine of focus this year is bubbles, it was a no-brainer for me to buy tickets for the International Festival Tasting Room. Apparently there will be 780 wines from 14 countries and more than 110 different “expressions” of bubbles; Champagne, Cavas, Prosecco, Crémants…I do believe I have found heaven.

France, the theme country for 2014.

Make sure to get your tickets ASAP here as they have already sold out for the Saturday night. And don’t be like the old me: eat before you go and pace yourself! If you do go, you’ll find me at one of the many wineries serving bubbles and if I look like I’m not pacing myself, just keep walking. ;)

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